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Introduction:

Author's Notes: 'The Most Valuable Gift' is an unplanned sequel to 'One Who Understands'. The stories are read in the following order: 1 One Who Understands, 2 The Most Valuable Gift, 3 To Walk a Mile. All characters engaging in sexual relationships or activities are 18 years old or older.
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Prologue:

Edward Walters wasn’t gifted with great intelligence. He wasn’t strikingly handsome nor was he fabulously wealthy. He was, more often than not, tongue tied around women so couldn’t claim to have a silver tongue. He didn’t have a six figure job, drive a fast sports car, or own a villa in the south of France.

But he was happy. Deeply, completely happy.

He had the love of the woman he’d been in love with since he was just a boy of six years. He’d lost his mother to a tragic accident and had no father so he’d been taken in by his mother’s cousin Shirley Wilson. While she’d been a less than ideal replacement, her ten year old daughter Grace saved him from a life of misery and loneliness. His love for Grace just grew over the years as he did.

And grow he did. Now that he was almost in his twenties he was a big man, standing 6’ 2” and 240 lbs of hard muscle. His genes and years of playing football in school had given him a strong body. He wasn’t aggressive by any stretch of the imagination. Grace called him an innocent. He relied tremendously on her because he often found himself confused and troubled by people’s behavior. He didn’t recognize when he was being lied to nor did he understand why people did it. This often led to him being hurt or taken advantage of. He knew that wasn’t normal but Grace never made him feel stupid or ashamed for his inability to understand. She was patient and explained things to him. She understood him better than anyone and he loved her with every fibre of his being.

The truly incredible fact was that she loved him the same way.

They’d lived with her mother until Grace caught her sexually and emotionally abusing Ed. After the confrontation, Shirley spitefully sold her house to move in with her boyfriend making them essentially homeless. While they were both adults at the time they would have been on the streets had it not been for another woman in Ed’s life.

Rachel Thompson was the mother of one of Ed’s football teammates. Initially she seemed to be just attracted to his physical attributes but she confessed that she had fallen for his innocence and his sweet, gentle nature.

She’d later said that she never expected their relationship to advance beyond their mutual and powerful physical attraction and she’d resigned herself to that. She lived alone in a large mansion since her ex-husband and his son had unsuccessfully tried to kill her to collect the insurance money. She was lonely living alone in the big home and it was beginning to weigh heavily on her. When she heard that Ed and Grace were going to be out on the street she leapt at the chance to come to their rescue and ease her loneliness. Grace and Ed were stunned by her generosity and willingness to take them in.

When Ed discovered he was in love with Rachel as well as Grace, it was Grace who announced it to Rachel. Knowing him as intimately as she did, Grace was aware of his true feelings for Rachel almost before he was. She wasn’t threatened. She knew he loved her without reservation. She was also aware that Rachel wasn’t the only woman that he’d been intimate with. They, like Rachel, had begun their relationships with him for the pure physical thrill of having sex with the big man but they’d all become attached to him… as he was to them.

Ed had been with Rachel’s best friend Angie Spencer, a widower, and their mutual friend Zoe Sandoval who was separated from her husband as he was serving a life sentence in prison. He’d also been with two other women in Rachel’s neighborhood, also her friends, Stephanie Mathews and Carolyn Patterson, both of whom were going through divorce proceedings. All continued to see Ed with Grace’s blessings as long as they never abused Ed’s good nature or took advantage of his innocence. If she ever discovered they had manipulated him as Shirley had done then their relationship with him was over.

Aside from being very busy at home, Ed had his dream job working for Drakos Heating and Cooling. The owner had paid for Ed to get his certification and nurtured his favorite employee as Ed’s work was second to none. While his unique mental state may have given him some socially challenging issues they also allowed him to focus on his task with an almost laser like precision. It was almost a savant state. He wasn’t really clear on what all that meant but he knew he loved his job and for the first time in his life he was really good at something.

So he was happy. With the leaves gone and snow threatening to fall any day now, his very favorite time of year was rapidly approaching! Christmas! Now that he had so many more people to share it with Ed knew he had more reasons to be very merry indeed!



Chapter 1

Ed pulled his old, beat up pickup into the garage of the beautiful mansion up on Silverton Heights. His truck was as out of place in this upscale neighborhood as he often felt but it was perfectly suitable for him and he’d refused Rachel’s generous offer to replace it with a newer model.

Getting out of the cab he stretched his tired muscles. He’d worked out this morning with the gym equipment in the basement. If he’d known how strenuous work was going to be he might have chosen to skip the workout. The four story shopping complex in the downtown boutique shopping district the team was working on these days involved a lot of heavy lifting and cramped working conditions but he was putting in extra time to get the job done quickly. If they could meet the deadline for the spring opening there was a generous bonus involved.

Mr. Drakos was very delighted with the progress they were making, especially Ed’s. They were reaching a phase where the other contractors would be taking over the building to complete their work and they would have a couple of months of respite before they’d need to return to finish up. If the other teams didn’t encounter any complications then they would definitely hit the deadline. As it was they’d be early, largely due to Ed’s peculiar gestalt perception of systems and patterns.

He had poured over the building’s blue prints to ensure he understood where their installations would run and noticed some errors in the construction of the building’s layout. Two important walls had been poured in the wrong location and there wouldn’t be enough room in the central utilities shaft to house all of the required conduits. He’d brought this to the attention of the new site foreman who confirmed Ed was right and contacted the project managers, the Klein Group, with the setback. Ed provided an alternate suggestion for the location of the electrical conduits which actually cut some of the cost so the foreman was able to take steps to keep the project moving.

But today Ed was tired. It was late. Getting home at 9PM every night this week was draining but he was done for the weekend. No Saturday shift tomorrow.

He entered the house and heard voices coming from the kitchen and the wonderful aroma of cooking. He followed this until he was standing in the doorway looking at the two women he shared the home with.

Rachel noticed him first as she was facing his direction. Her smile dazzled him as it always did. Lovely blue eyes twinkled with delight as he stood enraptured by her beauty. Lush red hair cascaded over her shoulders and partially obscured her abundant cleavage. His eyes were trapped there for a moment as she subtly arched her back to tease him just a little.

Grace turned with a smile and he looked into her loving dark eyes. She was not as tall or svelte as Rachel but she absolutely glowed with love for him and quickly crossed the room to pull him into a tight hug. Ed kissed her and felt himself floating away to heaven as her soft lips against his were absolute bliss.

“Welcome home,” she purred when she pulled back. He loved the feel of her body against his but he was just too pooped to respond that way.

“It’s good to be home!” he sighed happily.

Grace released him and he made his way over to Rachel. He pulled her into a hug and kissed her. She slipped him a little tongue which sent a spark to his groin but he pulled back and shook his finger at her. “I’m not risking falling asleep while making love. Tonight I sleep. Tomorrow…” he bounced his eyebrows at the two ladies who chuckled at him.

Rachel patted his thick bicep, feeling a tantalizing little tingle shoot through herself and turned to get his dinner.

“I made a chicken casserole from that recipe you gave me.” Rachel said as she pulled the dish from the oven. Ed’s mouth began to water immediately. She served up three plates, giving Ed a large portion. They carried their plates to the table. “Careful everyone, it’s hot!”

Grace brought tall glasses of cold water to the table and they sat together.

“You two don’t have to wait for me to get home to have dinner!” Ed exclaimed.

“Nonsense! We love eating together!” Rachel insisted and Grace just smiled at him. She knew he was secretly delighted they were sharing this mealtime with him.

Ed blew on a forkful of the steaming noodles and chicken then popped it into his mouth. His eyes closed in happiness as the flavors melted across his tongue. “Oh, that’s so good, Rachel!”

She gave him a very pleased smile and enjoyed her own meal.

“How was school today?” Ed asked Grace. She was attending college studying accounting as she wanted to be a forensic accountant.

Grace’s sudden smile warmed his heart. He was so glad she was finally on the path she was destined for and he was so glad he was able to make it happen for her.

“It was really good! The prof is taking us through an actual case history of a company involved with money laundering!” she gushed.

Rachel smiled at the other woman’s obvious delight.

Ed turned to her and she dabbed her mouth as she swallowed. “Well, I had lunch with a bunch of very wealthy ladies with too much time on their hands,” she quipped.

Ed looked at her curiously and she realized he hadn’t caught her self-effacing tone. Grace raised an eyebrow at her and she nodded apologetically.

“With our neighbor from the top of the hill no longer available to attend these social events, the Empanada League invited me to their luncheon. Most wouldn’t even look at me as I hadn’t inherited my fortune but one of the ladies was friendly so the lunch wasn’t a complete loss. They were discussing some big charity gala event tomorrow night. I think it’s a five thousand dollar a plate dinner with a silent auction and celebrities attending.”

“Five thousand dollars a plate! That’s crazy! But I’d pay $2000 for another plate of this casserole.” Ed exclaimed.

Rachel snorted and got up to get him some more. On the way back to the table the phone rang. She put the plate in front of him and ran her fingers through his hair as she walked past to get the phone. Ed and Grace got to hear one side of the conversation.

“Hello? Oh, hi Tristan. Tickets? No, I didn’t buy any. Tomorrow night? Yes, I know. What?! No, that’s- that’s too generous… I- I suppose I could. A date?”

Rachel looked desperately at Ed who just blinked back at her. She looked to Grace who grinned, pointed at Ed and nodded.

“Yes, I have a date. What? Yes… he is pretty special. Are you sure? OK, I’ll see you there. Seven PM at the Esplanade. Thank you!”

Rachel looked back at their curious faces. Her mouth was working but she couldn’t speak.

Grace grinned at her excitement. Ed just continued to eat as he watched her.

“That was the nice woman I met at the luncheon, Tristan Grant. She’s invited me and my date to the charity dinner tomorrow night.

“Who are you taking?” Ed asked.

Rachel smiled at him and Grace snorted.

“Me? At a fancy charity dinner? Should I wear my fancy jeans?” he grinned.

“I guess we’re going shopping tomorrow!” Rachel cheered.

Ed grinned and hung his head to the sound of Grace’s giggles.



Chapter 2

The Esplanade Convention Center was buzzing with activity. The paparazzo were out in force trying to capture images of the rich and famous, participants of the annual charity dinner. The men were mostly dressed in classic black tie but the ladies wore a stunning array of styles and colors. Classic to avant garde was on parade and the onlookers were eating it up. They were also appreciative of the beauty being flaunted. Along with the beautiful dresses and glittering jewellery many of those attending were very pretty indeed, both the men and women. Most of the idle rich spent their time with trainers and in salons maintaining their physiques. Others went the other way because, fuck you, if great food and wine is meant to be enjoyed why not enjoy it to excess!

As their limo pulled up to the red carpet in the underground entrance of the Esplanade Rachel was trembling with excitement. She’d always wanted to walk the red carpet. Ed was looking a little stunned but he was doing his best to hide it.

Just like he was doing his best to hide his very large and visible erection against the damn tight pants Rachel and Grace had insisted he get with the tuxedo. He hadn’t been able to keep his eyes off Rachel as she looked incredible in the deep shimmering purple dress which left her shoulders exposed and had an expanse of lace over her chest that did little to hide her impressive assets. Ed swore the lace accentuated her round, firm- He moaned quietly as he throbbed once more.

Rachel’s luxurious red hair was artfully teased up onto her head exposing the soft skin of her long neck. Ed struggled to keep from kissing her neck and to keep his fingers out of her red locks.

The car came to a stop and Ed stepped out. He walked around to Rachel’s door and tried to ignore the flashes popping in his vision. He opened the door and offered her his hand. Her soft fingers settled in his and she stepped from the car and smiled demurely at him.

They began their walk.

Ed was taken aback at the thunderous yelling and the almost violent lightshow coming from the paparazzo. He felt a gentle tug from Rachel’s hand on his arm and they stopped briefly to face the cameras. If anything the noise got louder.

Then they continued on their way. Once they were out of range the noise dropped considerably.

Rachel leaned close to Ed and he felt her trembling. “Oh my god Ed! That was almost worth paying the price for dinner tonight,” she said quietly just for him. Between them she brushed her fingers lightly across his bulge and her shiver intensified. “Ohhh, if there was a way to take care of this right now I would!”

He discreetly adjusted himself and they approached the door. A few couples were waiting their turn before them. At the door was a slim man with thin hair who was holding a printed list of names. He was gracious and professional as he greeted the couples. As the man identified each guest he would smile, hand the ladies a ticket and gesture for them to enter. Ed wondered what the ticket was for. There was so much new and strange going on here he was trying his best to fit in so Rachel would continue to enjoy the experience.

Then it was their turn and the man was giving them the once over. Ed remained silent and stood slightly to the side as Rachel approached. The man lifted his nose to look at Rachel.

“Rachel Thompson and Edward Walters, guests of Tristan and Dale Grant,” she said with a smile.

Ed noticed the man’s nostrils flaring and his eyes narrowing slightly as he turned to look at the list. Ed’s eyes snapped to the papers and the name Dale jumped out immediately. Just below that was Rachel’s and his name.

“Hmmm, I don’t see your names-” the man began with an odd tone in his voice as he pursed his lips like he’d tasted something foul. Ed saw Rachel begin to stiffen. Doubt slipped into her eyes.

“Actually, our names are on line fourteen of the page you’re holding just below ‘Dale and Tristan Grant’. Maybe you didn’t see it because the names are in reverse order on the paper,” Ed said in a friendly way as he leaned his large body in towards the man to point at the paper.

The doorkeeper leaned away from Ed who continued to smile and point to the names. Rachel’s expression quickly passed from doubt, to surprise, then anger and finally to satisfaction as the little man begrudgingly acknowledged their names were on the list after all, clearly intimidated by Ed.

He gestured for them to enter and they started but Ed turned back and held out his hand. The man looked at Ed nervously.

“Rachel’s ticket,” Ed said with a smile.

“Ah! Y-yes- ah, let me get that,” he said in a rush and handed Ed the ticket. Ed raised it and smiled at the man. He missed seeing the man flinch but Rachel saw it and enjoyed it. They moved further down the hall.

“I don’t know what the ticket is for but all the ladies were getting one so you should hold onto it,” Ed said, oblivious to the man’s foiled effort to embarrass them.

The ticket went into her clutch purse and she hooked her arm through as they made their way into a large open area. The theme was Winter Festivities so the huge hall was decorated in white and silver. Artfully positioned spot lights made the crystals sparkle and glitter. Ed was mesmerized and grinned in childlike wonder. Rachel enjoyed his excitement.

They made their way further into the room nodding and smiling to the guests who looked their way. There was a bar along one wall and people were milling about in small groups, talking, drinking, laughing, and generally people watching.

“Edward, could you get me a glass of white wine?” Rachel asked.

“Certainly. Don’t leave without me!” he said with a smile and she shook her head.

When he returned with two glasses of white wine Rachel was standing beside a very tall, slim and lovely strawberry blonde woman who could have been a little younger than Rachel. She was holding the arm of an equally tall and slim man with greying blond hair. He appeared to be much older than his companion. Rachel was smiling broadly so Ed smiled at the newcomers and handed Rachel her wine.

“Thank you Edward! I’d like to introduce you to the very generous and gracious couple who invited us to the event. Dale and Tristan Grant.”

“So this is the man Rachel talked about all through lunch yesterday!” Tristan said with a big teasing grin, her strong southern accent jumping out at him. Rachel blushed and Ed shook the woman’s hand.

“It’s very nice to meet you,” Ed said with a blush of his own.

“Oh my goodness! I’m just teasing Edward but now I want to know all the secrets!” the woman gushed with a huge smile.

Dale rolled his eyes at his wife’s antics and held out his hand to Ed.

Ed was a little surprised by the strength of the man’s grip but he equalized the pressure and something in the man’s eyes changed. He looked at Ed’s hands and noticed they showed some small scars.

“You a wine drinker Ed?” Dale’s voice was deep and gravelly, the roughness a little like what Angie’s voice had.

“Not really. I rarely drink but it seems to be the social thing to do. I didn’t know what else to order,” Ed confessed.

“I’m dry so let’s head over to the bar and get you a good drink,” he suggested and Rachel nodded so he let the man lead him away.

Once they were alone Tristan looked at Rachel with a twinkle in her eye. “He’s delightful!”

“Yes, he’s pretty amazing.” Rachel agreed glancing back in the direction Ed had gone.

Tristan heard the love in Rachel’s voice and got a little worried. She’d seen other women in the group fall in love with their young lovers only to be emotionally destroyed when these young men moved on. In the short time she’d spent with Rachel at the luncheon she’d immediately clicked with her. Tristan listened to her inner voice believing to her core that there was wisdom in instinct. Rachel was good people. She and Dale had met so few when they moved here from Texas. They’d left behind their social connections and had made efforts here to connect with the ‘right people’. Peers from their tier of society but there was always something lacking. Some were dull as plain crackers, others had no depth, and many had a weakness of moral values. She picked up immediately from Rachel that she was more right than any of the ‘right people’. Now she may be setting herself up for heartache.

Her concern must have shown on her face as Rachel reached over and touched her hand. “You don’t need to worry about me. It’s good.”

Tristan began to apologize but Rachel just shook her head with a grin. “Get to know Edward and you’ll understand.”

The blond looked curiously in the direction her husband had taken the young man.

Ed and Dale were standing at the bar where the older gentleman was schooling the bartender on what a good scotch was. Finally two tumblers were presented to them to his satisfaction. He handed one to Ed.

“Some toss this drink back and swallow it quickly but I personally feel that’s an insult to the craftsmanship. This is your first exposure to scotch?” Dale asked Ed who nodded wide eyed. “Then take the scent first. Careful, even that can have a kick. Then take a sip, roll it on the tongue then swallow.”

Ed placed his nose over the tumbler and sniffed cautiously. The scent was like nothing he’d smelled before. Spicy, hot, rich… he took a good sip and ran it over his tongue allowing it to slide back to be swallowed. The heat moved down his chest and his eyes watered a little as he hadn’t been expecting that. The flavors in his mouth just continued to get better. He looked into the tumbler with a pleased look. He LIKED scotch! He looked to the man standing next to him and saw that odd expression again. Grace wasn’t here to interpret them for him and Ed felt like he was being graded, like he was back in school. He looked the man in the eye.

“Have I done something wrong? You keep looking at me like my high school teachers used to. Well, most looked at me in disappointment. If you could tell me how I’ve offended you maybe I can do something about it.”

The older man looked ashamed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable. You aren’t what I was expecting. In the past I’ve seen young men with some of the ladies here tonight and these men have always been soft, egotistical, self-centred sponges. Your hands have seen work like mine. You weren’t threatened by my handshake and didn’t try to show me up by overpowering my grip. You haven’t tried to bullshit me by pretending to be worldlier than your age would typically allow. I’m sorry if I’ve offended you.”

Ed nodded and looked back to his drink. He sipped some more, following Dale’s instructions once more. After he enjoyed the warmth he looked back at the man.

“I don’t know any of these other young men. I don’t know why they would behave that way. It makes no sense to me but I don’t get a lot of people’s behavior. I guess I’m slow that way.” He felt the warmth of the scotch slide along his limbs and he felt a little more relaxed. He took the last sip and smiled as he set the glass on the counter. “That is a very good drink!”

Dale liked this young man. He was refreshingly honest and amazingly centered. He hadn’t flared with righteous indignation or false bravado. And he understood scotch! He grinned at Ed and Ed grinned back. He ordered Ed another drink then they made their way back to the ladies. Just before he arrived he looked over at Ed.

“You may want to nurse that one. Scotch is a strong drink that will catch you off guard if you aren’t careful with it.”

Ed looked at him and nodded seriously.

“Dale! You’re not corrupting this delightful young man with that wicked drink are you?” Tristan chastised her husband with false outrage.

“No, I’m grateful he’s introduced me to it. It’s quite good! He’s also told me to be careful with it.” Ed exclaimed in defense of the older man who was grinning back at him.

Rachel smiled at Ed and took his arm to lean against him. He leaned towards her as well, enjoying the feel of her body. He returned the look of love and Tristan’s eyes widened as she watched. She nodded to Rachel.

“Did you want to take a look at the items they are auctioning off?” Dale asked.

They made their way around the room looking at the prizes and the older man explained to Ed how a silent auction worked. He was pleased to see that Ed wasn’t particularly awed by the hugely expensive prizes. They passed the bidding sheet for a fierce looking red sports car and Ed didn’t even blink in its direction. Curious.

“Ed, if you don’t mind me asking, what do you drive?” Dale asked.

“A 1980 Ford F150 pickup.” Ed said absently as he looked at the next item up for auction. He wondered what anyone needed with a yacht that big. Maybe for a large family outing? He didn’t notice the older man’s delighted smile.

“You’re happy with your truck?”

Ed looked at him. “Yes. It’s been very dependable and I’ve used it at work for hauling heavy equipment to the hazardous waste center.”

“Oh! What do you do for a living?” Dale asked.

“I work for Drakos Heating and Cooling. I’ve got my Universal Certification so I can work on any level of system we install or maintain.”

“Do you enjoy it?”

Ed’s face burst into a wide smile. “Yes! It’s a great job!” He realized he should be polite and ask Dale a question as well. “What do you do for a living?”

The man took in Ed’s open expression and saw he was just curious. “I’m retired now. I created a few businesses and ran them until they could run themselves then moved on to the next. Eventually I met this beautiful lady and running businesses just didn’t appeal to me anymore.”

Tristan smiled at her husband and Ed could see the love shining in their eyes. He hugged Rachel just a little bit tighter.

There was a chime and people began to move towards the far doors which led to the dining room. They were sharing a table with two other couples who didn’t appear to be happy about it. Ed just did his best to be polite but his requests to a heavyset man to pass the water jug was ignored repeatedly. He resorted to waving to the man but after an annoyed glance he turned his face away from Ed.

Ed sat back in his chair in surprise. He knew the man saw him. The tables were fairly close together so getting up to walk around the table to get to the water was going to be difficult as well. He pondered what to do.

Tristan and Dale shared a look and the older man was about to say something when Ed stretched his arm out to reach across the table for the jug. He almost had it but suddenly it tipped over away from him. The water splashed across the table and doused the rude man and his equally unpleasant wife.

Ed jumped to his feet and tried to move to help the sputtering couple but they just shrieked at him. Dale was immediately at Ed’s elbow and his presence seemed to take the venom out of the words the couple were venting at Ed. They turned and left with what little dignity they retained. The other couple got up and moved to a table across the room which had two open seats. Staff quickly appeared and dealt with the mess and removed the place settings leaving just the four of them at the table.

Dale and Ed sat back in their chairs and Ed’s face was burning with shame.

“I’m so sorry for making such a scene! I’m such a klutz!” Ed apologized.

“Nonsense! If that fool hadn’t been so busy being a prick and ignoring you he would have stayed dry.” Dale said with a grin.

“Besides, now we have the table to ourselves!” Tristan smiled kindly at him.

Ed felt better and Rachel leaned over and gave him a kiss which certainly lightened his mood. He blushed again but this time it was for Rachel.

Tristan smiled at her husband who took her hand in his.

Dinner was served and it was delicious. Ed was surprised at first by the small portions on the plates considering the cost but it soon made sense to him as course after course was brought out. Dale, Tristan, and Rachel turned some away when they were brought out though she kept a few just to transfer the food to Ed’s plate.

Once they finished their dessert Dale and Ed visited the bar once more to bring back scotch for themselves and wine for the ladies. They talked and laughed, enjoying each other’s company. Rachel told them all about their group of friends and she saw the look of longing in Tristan’s eyes. She insisted they come over for dinner and sample some of Ed’s famous steak seasoning and meet the group.

Dale’s eyes lit up with the mention of barbequed steaks and Tristan was thrilled and nodded. The group toasted to celebrate their new friendship.

Several celebrities made speeches extolling the virtues of the charity and everyone clapped politely.

Then the charity organizers made their speeches and announced the winners of the silent auction. The yacht went to the couple who’d moved to another table. The red sports car went to a fellow who looked too big to fit inside. The cottage went to another older couple. There were several smaller items and Ed noticed that no one really looked happy about the items they’d bought. He thought that was really strange.

Then the organizers mentioned the door prizes. Third prize was a romantic get-away for two at a luxury all-inclusive couples resort in Barbados for one week. Second prize was a very cute little Italian car. Great for getting around the city in. The grand prize was a villa in Italy worth over a million dollars.

Ed wondered how the charity made money considering the value of the prizes. He nudged Rachel to get the ticket out of her purse and Tristan was grinning at his excitement. Both she and Dale were holding tickets.

“Didn’t you get a ticket Ed?” the older gentleman asked.

“No, I guess he forgot,” Ed said and shrugged. Dale shared a look with his wife and Rachel.

The organizers began calling out the numbers on the ticket for third prize and Rachel’s smile began to disappear as each number called lined up with the numbers on her ticket. She sat frozen as the last number was called and it was her ticket! Ed cheered then blushed at his outburst but Dale and Tristan were right there with him. They pushed Rachel to get up and walk up to the stage to collect her reward.

Rachel’s head was swimming and her skin was tingling madly. She’d never won anything before in her life! She gave her name and telephone number and handed over her ticket. She was giddy with elation and accepted the envelope from the woman standing at the podium after her ticket was confirmed to be the winner. The woman’s smile was stiff and didn’t reach her eyes but Rachel never noticed as she turned back to her table and held up the envelope.

Once more Ed cheered for the beautiful woman dancing back to their table. She looked so happy.

Rachel sat down and pulled the voucher from the envelope. She read it and her face dropped. “It’s for next weekend!” she cried.

“So?” Ed asked.

“It’s a couples resort!”

Ed pulled his phone out of his pocket and looked at his calendar app. He saw that Mr. Drakos had posted the updated schedule for the shopping complex. It was November 28th. He could finish his inspections this week and they were not working on the building the following two weeks so the other trades could work in piece exclusively.

“I’ll be available,” he said.

“You should take the tickets and go with Grace!” Rachel said.

“No! You won, you should get to go! Besides she has classes.”

“Who is Grace again?” Tristan asked curiously.

“Edward’s… girlfriend?” Rachel said as she looked at Ed for clarity on what he considered Grace to be.

Tristan’s eyes went wide. “Girlfriend?!?”

Rachel chuckled and patted her friend’s hand. “It’s a long story which requires more privacy.”

The organizers were ready to announce the ticket number for second prize. The numbers were read out steadily and Tristan pouted after the third number. When the number was complete people were looking around but no one moved.

Dale showed his ticket to Tristan who clapped her hands. He gestured towards Ed and she nodded.

“Ed, why don’t you take my ticket since they didn’t give you one.”

“But you could win that Italian villa!” he exclaimed.

“I already have one,” the man said dismissively.

“Are you sure?” Ed asked.

“Yes!”

Ed took the ticket from the man’s fingers then his eyes picked up the number on it. He locked eyes with Dale. “This is the winning ticket for second prize!”

“Yes and if you don’t go claim the prize immediately they will pick someone else’s number. Someone undeserving.”

Ed stood and held the ticket up.

“We have a winner!” he heard the organizer say. He made his way up to the stage and faced the woman who seemed to be a little flustered as she cracked a smile at him. She validated his ticket, took his name and telephone number then presented him with an envelope. He immediately looked inside and found a voucher from a dealership for the sporty little car. He blinked at the woman. He’d never won anything before and didn’t really know what to do next.

She softened as she saw his lost expression. “You take this to the dealership listed and show them your identification. They’ll give you the car. It’s all paid for though they may try to get you to buy an extended warranty or something like that.”

“Thank you so much!” Ed exclaimed.

The woman gave him a genuine smile at last and he made his way back to the table. He gaped at the couple.

“Why did you just give me a car?”

Dale chuckled. “Ed, it cost us nothing and we have no need for another car, especially one neither of us would fit into. We’re too tall! You may be a little too wide in the shoulders,” Dale said giving Ed’s shoulder width an assessing look.

“Do you think Grace might like to replace hers? I think she’d love the little car.” Rachel said. “For Christmas?”

Ed’s face lit up as he thought of how excited she’d be. He swept forward and kissed Rachel until she was panting. When he pulled back both of their faces were flushed and he was seriously tenting his pants. Rachel glanced down then back up into his eyes. Her look promised a night of passion.

Their companions were looking at them in interest and more than a little confusion.

The numbers were read out for the grand prize Italian villa and a cheer went up at a table across the large dining room.

As the woman claimed her prize Ed noticed people were heading for the exit. He wondered if the event was over.

Dale leaned over to catch their attention. “There’s a very nice nightclub at the top of the hotel attached to the convention center. We were planning on going up for a drink and maybe do a little dancing. Could we convince you two to join us?”

Rachel gave Ed a hopeful look and he just smiled and nodded.

“I’m not a very good dancer,” he confessed.

Rachel patted his hand and he caught her fingers and brought them up to his lips. She gasped quietly as he caressed her knuckles softly. She turned to Tristan.

“Maybe for a short while,” she breathed. Tristan giggled.

Ed ensured his prize envelope was secure inside his jacket pocket and Rachel checked her clutch once more to ensure her envelope was there. They followed their friends out of the convention center into the adjoining hotel and took the elevator up to the nightclub.

The doorman nodded to Dale and a hostess led them to a lovely table by the windows. They had privacy but could see the dancefloor and hear the music. It wasn’t fast and loud as Ed was expecting. Instead it lent itself to dancing close and swaying slowly. He thought he could do that and was actually looking forward to holding Rachel against his body.

“Is this enough privacy to get an explanation of who Grace is? I don’t mean to pry but I’m confused.” Tristan asked Rachel and Ed. Her husband was watching attentively as well.

Rachel looked at Ed who gave her a questioning look in return. “Would you mind if I explained our relationship with our new friends?” she finally asked.

Ed shook his head. He trusted her so he just smiled.

Rachel looked over at Tristan. “Ed was orphaned when he was six and went to live with his mother’s cousin. She had a daughter of her own named Grace. Ed grew up in their home and fell in love with Grace. She fell in love with him in return but neither confessed their love to the other.”

She took Ed’s hand in hers and smiled at him. “I met Ed when he was graduating from school and months later we began a relationship that was initially purely physical. But I found myself falling for him. He’s a much better man than my ex-husband ever was. Grace and Edward came to live with me through circumstances beyond their control. They finally expressed their love for each other and Grace was the one who told me that Edward had also fallen in love with me.”

Ed blushed and fidgeted as he rubbed his thumb across the back of Rachel’s hand enjoying its softness.

“So Grace is your… second cousin?” Tristan asked and Ed nodded. “You’re in a relationship with two women?” Tristan asked Ed.

Ed looked at Rachel who nodded to indicate it was ok. “Six,” he replied.

Rachel’s expression changed to surprise and Tristan and Dale jolted. “Are you in love with the others?” Rachel asked him quietly.

He glanced over at Tristan who was almost glaring at him. The intensity of her gaze was a little intimidating. “I- I don’t know. I’m kind of confused about some, especially Zoe, but I can’t deny I have feelings for them. With you and Grace I know it’s love. If I have feelings for someone, even if I’m not sure it’s love, shouldn’t I say I’m in a relationship with them?” Ed asked, looking at the three listeners.

Dale cleared his throat and shifted in his chair. He was a little out of his element with such questions. He looked at Tristan hoping she might have an answer but she’d gone silent, watching the young man… and trembling.

Rachel smiled fondly at Ed. “Yes, I think it’s the responsible thing to do. You should be as upfront and honest about your feelings as you can be so no one gets hurt.”

Ed nodded as that matched his own reasoning. “Could we dance now?” he asked hopefully. He wanted to get away from Tristan whose gaze was really unnerving him.

Rachel stood up and they made their way down to the dance floor. She showed him how to hold her and he followed her steps until they were moving smoothly across the floor with the other dancers.

“I don’t think Tristan likes me,” Ed whispered.

“What makes you say that?” she exclaimed.

“I don’t know. She was staring at me really hard and she seemed… angry?” Ed was floundering as he really wasn’t good at reading people. If it hadn’t been for the intensity of her reaction he might have not noticed. He closed his eyes and just enjoyed the feeling of Rachel in his arms. Soon he calmed down. They danced through another song then they headed back to the table. As they approached they saw Tristan and Dale had their heads together in deep conversation. Rachel looked at Ed who seemed genuinely worried. He stepped up to the table to address the woman.

“I’ve offended you somehow. I don’t know what I did but I’m sorry I made you unhappy,” he said to her. To Rachel Tristan seemed shaken by his apology.

“I told you. The man isn’t playing a game. He’s a straight shooter,” Dale said to his wife. She still looked upset so he continued. “You trust your gut. Are you saying I shouldn’t trust mine?”

Rachel and Ed sat down and she leaned towards the other woman. “Is your gut telling you Ed is being dishonest?”

“No. My instincts are telling me to trust my husband’s estimation of Edward but… six women! I’ve seen too many friends taken in by a pretty face only to be crushed emotionally.”

Rachel dropped her eyes to the surface of the table and took a deep breath as she gathered her thoughts. When she looked into the anguished eyes of the woman across the table. “Listen, five of those women pursued an innocent young man and by any means we could devise lured him into our beds because we were lonely or bored or looking for a way to feel alive again. We never expected to connect emotionally to him or to find someone capable of so much compassion. Edward doesn’t lie. It isn’t in his nature but you have to be willing to see it. I’m truly sorry you aren’t. Let’s go Edward.”

Ed looked at Tristan and saw she was trying to say something but Rachel was already moving away. He nodded to the two. “It was very nice to meet you both. Thank you for a lovely evening,” he murmured and hustled after Rachel.

He caught up to her and followed her out of the nightclub. They entered the elevator and she pressed the button for the 15th floor. They went down three stories, the door opened and she stepped out. Ed followed with a puzzled expression. She pulled a room key card from her clutch purse and opened the door of room 1510. She looked back and took Ed’s hand, pulling him gently into the room.

When the door closed behind them she touched a wall switch and a gentle light came up in the room down a small hallway. In the dim light in the hall Ed saw Rachel looking up at his face. “I’m sorry Tristan treated you like that.”

He just shook his head and his eyes watched her lips. “I want to kiss you.”

She smiled and he stepped forward to press himself against her body. All night he’d been wanting to do this. She tilted her head up and his lips gently pressed against hers. He sighed at how soft her mouth was against his. He stroked his bottom lip across hers and felt her breath catch. He stroked her mouth with his once more and Rachel moaned at his sensual touch. He lifted his hands and stroked the sides of her exposed neck. A shiver went through her body and she gasped. Then her tongue was in his mouth and Ed felt his body become lighter as his skin prickled with electricity. He moved his hands to her back and allowed them to slide down the silky fabric towards the curves of her ass.

Rachel’s arms tightened their grip on him as she felt his hands descend. When he squeezed her ass she moaned into his mouth and kissed him almost feverishly. She missed his hands sliding up to undo the zipper on her dress until it began to slide down her body. She caught it before it fell off and pulled back from his lips with a grin.

“Cheeky fellow!” she grinned then gasped as he moved his mouth to her neck.

He felt her pulse racing under his lips as he kissed his way down the soft skin.

Moaning she let her dress fall as she moved her hands to the buttons of his shirt.

Ed pulled back to gaze in wonder at her bounty being supported by a demi cup bra. The cups barely contained her. He placed his hands under her tits and lifted them reverently. Her nipples appeared over the edges of the cups. He immediately sucked one into his mouth and Rachel cried out in bliss from the intense sensations. He gently squeezed and tugged on the second nipple as he stroked the first roughly with his tongue.

Rachel clutched at his head and pulled him tighter against her tit, threatening to suffocate him in her soft flesh.

Ed was tenting his pants painfully so he moved his hands down to undo his pants. She pushed his jacket back over his shoulders and tugged his bow tie loose. Then off went his shirt as he dropped his pants.

She needed him, now! She grabbed his hand and moved them out of the hallway into the bedroom proper. They tugged the rest of their clothes off, dropping them at their feet, and she pulled the comforter from the bed. Ed dragged her onto the bed and worshipped her tits with his mouth and hands until she was squirming with desire.

Then he moved lower. The heat coming from her pussy was intense and he dipped his tongue into her juices as she cried out, holding his head against her.

“Edward! Please! I need you inside me! Please!” she gasped as she pushed his head away from her sex.

Ed climbed up her body, his eyes filled with raw need. She saw his cock bobbing between his legs. He looked enormous! He still had issues with his size. The damage done by his peers when he was young, being called a freak and a monster, scarred his mind, leaving him terribly self-conscious of his size. When fully erect he was at least ten inches in length and dauntingly thick!

He was running that heavy and hot flesh across the opening of her pussy, making himself wet and slick with her juices. She moaned and closed her eyes in bliss. Her eyes shot open when the thick head pressed into the opening and he drove himself three inches into her heat. Fuck! He was spreading her wide!

Rachel cried out and pulled at his body as she desperately wanted more. He knew better and slowly increased the pace of his thrusting until he was driving himself into her depths. She was almost frantic by that point and he thought she might finish too soon so he held himself still, his cock deep inside her and she calmed.

He kissed her hard, his tongue caressing hers, and felt her tension melting in his arms. When he began to move again she fell into a natural rhythm with him until they were both feeling the oncoming wave of ecstasy approach.

“I love you Rachel,” he whispered, looking down into her beautiful eyes.

“Oh Edward, I love you so much!” she gasped in return as they began to lose control over their pace. Their need for release overwhelmed them. Their bodies ground together and shook as each reached their limit.

Ed’s muscles tightened as he felt surge after surge of cum jet from his cock into Rachel. He felt lightheaded from the sudden release and little bursts of light seemed to be flashing behind his eyes.

Rachel’s body felt like it was going to shake itself apart. Sparks rushed outwards from her pussy and she clung to the large man who drove bolt after bolt of lightning into her. She cried out and wrapped her legs around his ass and held him tight to regain some control over herself. Gradually her mind settled back inside her body and she lay spent under the weight of his large body.

Sensing Rachel was finished, Ed slipped his softening cock from her and moved to lie beside her. She gasped gently at his withdrawal and settled herself against his side, kissing his shoulder fondly. He smiled at her and sighed with happiness.

They lay there together, each coming down from the incredible rush.

Ed gradually became aware of some details of the room. It was very nicely appointed with comfortable looking chairs, a desk to work at, a large cabinet with big doors and drawers underneath. Then he noticed the small suitcases.

“Whose suitcases are those?” Ed asked.

“Ours. While we were out shopping for our outfits for the party I asked Angie to pack a few items for us for tomorrow morning. She also got us the room and put the key in my clutch purse.” Rachel said with a grin.

“It’s nice to have such good friends!” Ed sighed and Rachel giggled. She slipped from the bed to use the washroom then settled back in next to him.

With mutual deep sighs of happiness they slipped into a deep, satisfied sleep.



Chapter 3

Rachel and Ed slept in then made love slowly until they were both deeply satisfied. Afterwards they had a lovely Sunday brunch at the hotel before heading home. Ed wanted to tell Grace right away about her new car but Rachel convinced him to meet her at the dealership the following day. Grace had classes but her college was close to where they would pick up the car. He could meet her there on his lunch hour.

Monday morning Ed went to speak with Mr. Drakos and arranged to have the following week off. He had vacation time coming and promised to complete all of his inspections by Thursday. His boss agreed and told him to speak with his daughter to update the company calendar.

Lunch time finally arrived and Ed was standing outside a restaurant next to the dealership when Grace rushed up to hug him. He hugged her back and when she turned to enter the restaurant he stopped her.

“I just want to show you something before we eat,” he said with a smile. Grace blinked then followed him across the lot and inside the dealership. He took her immediately over to a little sports car which looked like the one on the voucher.

“Oh! It’s so cute!” Grace smiled.

Ed opened the door and she slipped inside with a grin. He watched her delight as she touched the controls and got a feel for the interior.

“May I help you?”

Ed turned to see a man in a well-tailored suit standing behind him. Grace looked up sheepishly from inside the car.

“Yes, my name is Ed Walters and I’m here to pick up my prize,” he said as he pulled the voucher from the pocket of his work coverall. He pulled out his driver’s license as Rachel explained he should do that and the man took both.

Grace’s eyes were bugging out as she stared up at Ed.

“Very good sir. If you would be so kind as to follow me to my desk we will make the final arrangements,” the salesman said and Grace’s jaw dropped. Ed opened the door of the car and helped her out. He had to put his arm around her to guide her numb body over to the salesman’s office and into a chair.

“Ed. What’s going on?” Grace said with a trembling voice.

“Remember the charity dinner I attended with Rachel on Saturday? I won a door prize,” he said with a grin.

“A car?!? You won a car?” she squeaked and the salesman grinned at her.

“I won a car, for you,” Ed corrected her.

Grace burst into tears and leapt over to hug Ed who grinned at the salesman whose own smile threatened to split his face. As Grace cried onto Ed’s shoulder he handed the man his insurance papers. Grace settled down but she wouldn’t let go of Ed’s left hand.

“Now, which color would the young lady prefer?” the man said as he handed Grace a tissue for her eyes. He slid the brochure across his desk showing the paint options.

Grace was trembling as she looked over her choices. Ed was pretty sure he knew which one she’d pick. There was a gleaming black color-

“Red!” Grace exclaimed, pointing to a fiery red one.

Ed glanced at her in surprise and smiled. Red it was.

The salesman put the order in the system and handed them the invoice. Luckily Ed could sign it with his right hand as Grace still hadn’t released his left. The salesman left for a bit and returned with Ed’s copy of the invoice.

“It will take one to two weeks to get the car to the dealership. We will give you a call when it comes in. It was delightful doing business with you Mr. Walters. Congratulations again!” He shook their hands and Ed led Grace from the building.

“You are too wonderful!” Grace gushed as she hugged him again.

“Do you have time to eat?” he asked and she pouted as she looked at the time.

“I have to get back to class though it’s going to be difficult concentrating this afternoon,” she said with a dazzling smile.

Ed leaned down and kissed her, tasting her mouth and feeling her wonderfully soft lips against his.

Finally she patted his chest and gently pushed him back. “ED! I’m never going to get back to school at this rate! So much for concentrating!” She gave him a quick peck and rushed away to return to her classes.

Feeling deeply satisfied Ed headed back to work. He had inspections to do. It was going to be a busy day but it was already a good one!



Chapter 4

December 1st at last! As he woke up and stretched, Ed’s body was humming with excitement as he knew the holidays were almost here! He loved Christmas! In the past he’d only been able to share the joy with Grace and her mother Shirley, though the latter was more of a Grinch.

Now Ed was surrounded by people he loved and there were kids too! He couldn’t wait to share the excitement with them! He’d spoken with Carolyn and Stephanie and both were happy to let him participate by putting up their lights. What they didn’t know was that he intended on showing up in a full Santa Claus suit complete with a well-padded tummy. Grace said she’d help him dress up after work. He’d be going to Carolyn’s tonight.

He was alone in his own bed this morning as he’d gotten home at 1AM last night. His inspection turned up a problem that would have jeopardized his joining Rachel the following week and would have put the project back at least two weeks. He’d just fixed the problem himself and reran his inspections. It checked out the second time but it was well past midnight at that point.

Ed grabbed a quick shower, got dressed for work and headed downstairs to the kitchen. Grace leapt from her chair and jumped into his arms. Her body felt so good against his and her mouth on his was… Heaven! Her big tits were mashed against his chest and he began to show his appreciation for all the wonderful sensations. He glanced at the clock and realized he’d slept in. He moaned as he had to head to work immediately. He set Grace down on her feet and pulled back from her.

“It’s my turn to say I have to go!” he chuckled. Grace’s eyes twinkled.

He marched over to Rachel and kissed her tenderly and she gave him a dreamy smile as he headed out.

Traffic was light and he immediately went to speak with Mr. Drakos about his findings the previous night.

“Ed! I understand you were on the jobsite a little late last night. The foreman said he saw your truck there at 8PM.” Drakos said with a grin. He was so proud of his youngest employee! The best investment he’d ever made.

“Actually I didn’t leave until 12:30 this morning. I found a problem.”

Drakos’ face fell.

“It would have set us back two weeks but I found a work around.”

His boss looked expectantly at Ed.

“I worked on it and ran the inspections again. It passed,” Ed informed him.

A huge smile spread across the older man’s face. “How much longer will you need?”

“I should finish the physical inspections Wednesday night. Then it’s just paperwork which will take me until Friday to complete,” he explained.

“Excellent! Thank you Ed!” the man gushed.

Ed just nodded and left to get back to work.

The day passed quickly and he skipped lunch so he could ensure he was able to leave at 5PM. He quickly drove home and found Grace waiting for him.

“Make me Santa!” he grinned causing her to giggle.

It took about thirty minutes to get the suit on with the makeup. Grace was brilliant at applying it to make him look older with rosy cheeks and nose. The belly padding wasn’t so bad if a little warm. Soon he looked like Saint Nick and he pranced around the kitchen dancing between Grace and Rachel who were both in stitches. He called Carolyn who said he could come over any time.

Ed drove over to Carolyn’s and drove up her driveway with his lights off to sneak up on the house. He slipped out of the car and made his way to the front door. He rang the bell and soon heard the kids racing to the front door. The door opened and there was Carolyn standing behind her two kids, Gregory and Amelia. Ed thought she looked so pretty tonight and the glow of the candles on the table next to the door lit up the blond highlights in her light brown hair she was wearing down over her shoulders. Tonight her serious professor glasses were pushed up into her hair so he had an unobstructed view of her lovely hazel eyes. Her wide lips were smiling at him but there was surprise in her eyes.

“HO! HO! HO!” Ed said with his best Santa voice.

“Hi Mr. Walters.” Gregory said.

“Why are you dressed in a Santa suit?” Amelia asked.

“Ho- Uh, I don’t know what you mean! I’m Santa Claus!” Ed tried again.

“No, you’re Mr. Walters,” Gregory began.

“-wearing a Santa suit.” Amelia finished.

Carolyn watched Ed’s enthusiasm deflate completely. She felt so bad. If she’d known he was going to do the Santa bit she would have warned him. “I think you are a delightful Santa Claus. Please come in.”

The kids headed back into the playroom as Ed followed Carolyn into the kitchen. They took seats and Ed looked at the woman before him, his disappointment plain on his painted face.

“I don’t understand. They’re young kids! Shouldn’t they be excited about Santa and Christmas?” he asked.

“I’m afraid you’re in a house of anthropologists. Studying human cultural artifacts is what we do. Rick and I decided when the kids were born that we would be open and honest with them and this included explaining things like the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, even Santa Claus as what they really were.”

Ed blinked at her. “You explained away the magic?”

Carolyn tilted her head at Ed and frowned at how unhappy he was. “Are you going to be OK?”

“Sure.” Ed sagged a little more. “Does this mean you don’t put up a Christmas tree? Decorations?”

“We don’t have a tree or give presents. We take a food donation over to the shelter on Christmas Eve. We do put lights up on the house as that makes the neighborhood look so pretty. Could you help us with that?”

“Yeah, where are they?” he said, perking up a little.

“In the garage. There’s a ladder in there too. The lights are simple. They just clip onto the eves. The plug is on the side of the house.” Carolyn said as she led him into the garage. He carried the box outside then went back for the ladder. It was cold out so Carolyn scooted back inside.

Ed realized she was right. Putting up the lights was simple. It took all of fifteen minutes even with the width of the house. He put the ladder away and Carolyn met him in the kitchen again.

“Listen, if you’re still up for some Christmas cheer, I was just speaking with Stephanie. She’s home with her kids and they were going to put up their decorations this weekend. You might be able to convince her to do it early if you head over there now. Her kids are big Christmas fans too,” she said with a grin.

Ed nodded and smiled at Carolyn. As kids were nowhere in sight he scooped her into his arms and kissed her until she was trembling.

“I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus!” Amelia sang loudly from the kitchen door.

“It’s still Mr. Walters!” Gregory growled.

Ed set Carolyn back on her feet and she smiled at her kids and shooed them away. “Well… that was lovely!” she purred. “But you’d better get moving. Stephanie’s kids will be heading off to bed soon.”

He smiled at her and headed out the front door.

It took only a couple of minutes for Ed to be standing before Stephanie’s door. He rang the doorbell and heard a stampede of feet rushing to the door. It pulled open.

“HO! HO! HO!”

“SANTA!!!” four kids squealed in unison.

“I was in the neighborhood and I noticed you don’t have your decorations up! I have a little time to spare before my big night so I thought I’d help! If that’s ok with you and your Mom!” he chuckled merrily.

The kids were in a frenzy. Of course they wanted to put the decorations up, right now!

Ed was loving this. He looked over at Stephanie and was more than a little dazzled by her smile. She favored dark lipsticks and nail polishes which contrasted strongly with her pale skin and the brilliance of her white teeth. Her jet black tousled pixie haircut and the black lashes framing her intensely blue eyes made her skin seem even paler but the cute upturn on her slim nose and her high cheekbones made Ed think of an elf queen. Not that she was small in stature. Both she and Carolyn were around 5’ 8” with slim toned physiques from diligent trips to the gym but Carolyn seemed a little softer and had slightly larger breasts.

He tore his eyes away and rushed after the rampaging kids missing how she bit her lip as she watched him.

They spent the next two hours digging the boxes out of the basement, assembling the tree, hanging the ornaments and each of the kids wanted Santa to lift them to hang ornaments up near the top. Once they’d finished decorating the inside of the house they settled down as Santa read them a story then it was off to bed. Each gave him a kiss on the cheek and a hug before they went. Ed was glowing with Christmas cheer as he sat with Stephanie in her kitchen.

“That was fun!” Ed said quietly to Stephanie. “Do you have lights for outside? I could put them up too.”

“There’s a box in the garage. The ladder’s in there too.”

Ed found the box and realized the lights were the same as Carolyn’s. Fifteen minutes later the lights were up and he put the ladder back in the garage.

“Ed?”

He looked over towards Stephanie’s red SUV. She was in the back. The rear seats were folded down and she was lying in the back wrapped in a blanket. Ed blinked in confusion. What was she doing in the back of her car in her garage?

Stephanie was feeling a little foolish. She’d watched her favorite movie the previous night and the scene where the brash young artist made love to the woman in the back of a car parked in the ship got her so hot. All she could think of was what it would be like to make love to Ed in a car. When Carolyn called to say Ed was coming over the scene returned to her mind. Now that he was standing right there in a Santa suit looking at her in confusion she felt silly.

He approached and saw she was naked under the blanket. Naked in the back seat of a car. Something clicked in his memory. There was a movie he’d watched with Grace years ago about lovers on a large ship having sex in a car. He remembered how awkward he’d felt with Grace as he got excited.

He reached up and pulled his hat, wig, and Santa beard off. Stephanie’s eyes lit up as she saw his confusion give way to a hunger. He slowly ripped open the jacket, the Velcro seam parting noisily, and pulled the belly suit up and over his head. He’d gotten a little sweaty under the padding.

Stephanie watched him exposing his shining, rippling muscles as he lifted the padding up and off and she bit her lip. Then she crooked her finger at him.

Ed kicked is boots off and tugged the pants off until he was standing next to the car in just his underwear. Stephanie moved back as he crawled into the back of the car with her, pulling the door closed behind himself.

They were so close in the back but he was just a little chilly. She touched his chest, not at all turned off by the light layer of sweat there. She found it highly erotic.

He slid his hand around her head and pulled her mouth to his. She gasped as he gently sucked on her lower lip then she was exploring his mouth with her tongue. Her hand slipped down his chest to reach under the waistband of his underwear. Her slim fingers wrapped around the hard shaft of his erection. They both moaned as her fingers stroked the length of his heavy member.

It was a little awkward moving around in the back of her car but Ed managed to free up his hand to move it down her naked curves until he gripped her taut ass. Stephanie gasped in his mouth as he squeezed the muscles and slipped his fingers down between her legs. He found her hot and wet as his fingers dipped inside.

“Oh FUCK!” she cried out and stroked him harder.

Ed pushed his fingers in deeper and her body seemed to be sucking them in further. He gathered the slick fluids on his fingers then pulled them out. He rubbed the head of his throbbing cock with the slickness and pushed Stephanie’s hand away as his hand went down the shaft.

“Fuck yes! Fuck me Ed!” she said, trembling with need.

“Are you nervous?” he said, recalling a line from the movie.

Stephanie’s eyes flashed to his and a smile spread across her lips. “No. Put your hands on me… Ed.”

He kissed her hard as he rolled her onto her back. She had no time to prepare as his cock lined up with her opening and pushed just inside. Her cries were muffled by their kiss but as he slowly stroked in and out, going deeper with each drive forward her voice got louder.

Ed was no longer chilly. The car was heating up from their bodies and the effort needed to make love without crushing the woman in the small space was intense. She felt so incredibly good it was all Ed could do to slow down and stretch out the experience for her.

He gave up on the kiss as Stephanie was too far gone from the intense sensations. He was almost fully inside and each stroke made her cry out. As he released her lips she was finally able to verbalize her joy.

“SO FUCKING BIG! OH GOD, ED! THAT’S SO GOOD!”

He smirked. He was pretty sure that wasn’t a line from the movie.

His need was becoming too demanding and his hips began to twitch on their own with each thrust. Their bodies began to slap together and Stephanie’s eyes and jaw opened wide though she made no sound. While Ed was still making long strokes each ended with their bodies crashing together. The impact on her clit was obliterating her ability to think. She could no longer speak. Everything was sensation and it was too good. She was very close. She looked to the window and saw they were steamed up just like in the movie. The two perceptions suddenly overlapped and her eyes rolled back as she reached out to touch the cool glass. Her hand was moving on its own as she crashed through her release.

Ed felt her clamping down on his cock and that pushed him over the top. His orgasm rocked through his body as he held her. When he finally came back to his senses his body shook one more time.

“You’re trembling,” she panted quietly as she touched his cheek.

He smiled as he caught his breath. “Don’t worry. I’ll be alright.” He moved to lie beside her, relieving the pressure on her body.

Stephanie rolled onto her side facing him. She put her arm over his body and snuggled up close as she felt a glow wash through her body. He was so in tune with her it took her breath away.

They lay together for a while longer then Ed felt himself begin to nod off. That was the signal to get moving.

“I’m falling asleep,” he murmured.

“Mmmm… would that be so bad?” she sighed in return.

“Depends if you’re ok with your kids finding us here tomorrow morning,” Ed said with a sleepy grin.

Stephanie moaned unhappily then squeaked as Ed’s lips found hers in the dim light of the garage. The squeak became a purr as he nibbled his way across her lips.

“God! You’re going to get me going again and you’re right, it’s late.” Stephanie said after pulling away from his kiss.

The inside of the car was positively steamy and it smelled like sex. Ed looked at Stephanie. “Do you have an air freshener for the car? You drive the kids to school in the morning, right?”

She noticed what he was talking about and realized she should have thought about that. They wouldn’t recognize the smell but they would notice it. Damn! She’d just have to deal with it tomorrow. Maybe it was time to get the car detailed.

They stepped out into the garage and quickly dressed. Ed gave her another sizzling kiss and she pushed him out the door with a big grin on her face. She leaned back against the door as her body trembled and her heart soared.



Chapter 5

The next two days were a blur to Ed as work became frantically busy. He finished the physical inspections early and started in on the documentation but was pulled aside for other work. As he knew Ed would be unavailable for the entirety of the following week Mr. Drakos had his schedule fully loaded. He was interfacing directly now with the developers of the shopping complex and they had a number of items they needed his help on. He tried to explain that he was really only certified for heating and cooling but blue prints and schematics were being passed by him to review. When he spotted the address of a different build site printed on one of the pages he called them on it and Mr. Drakos got involved. He wasn’t too hard on them as he wanted to maintain a good relationship with the group but he made it clear Ed was a resource not to be taken advantage of. And he wanted first dibs on the contract for the new development project they were having Ed review.

All this extra work meant Ed was working past dinner hour for the two days and was pretty tired when he got home. Tonight Rachel told him she was going to give his boss a piece of her mind for running him ragged before his vacation but Ed managed to convince her to let it slide and she headed out to Angie’s place.

He was crashed on the couch watching TV with Grace who was resting against his side when the telephone rang. He moved to get it but Grace patted his leg and went for the phone.

“Hello? Hi Stephanie! Yes, he’s right here. Is everything ok?” Ed looked over at Grace who was frowning as she listened. “What assholes! Hang on.” Grace handed the phone to Ed.

“Hi Stephanie, what’s up?”

“Ed, I’m so sorry to call so late but I need your help.”

“Sure, what do you need?”

“I just got my new furniture for the master bedroom. They were really late in arriving, took the old furniture away but they just dumped all the new stuff in the center of the room and left. The bed needs assembly.”

“Do you have tools?” he asked.

“I think so,” she said but Ed heard the doubt.

“I’ll be right over.”

“Thank you so much!” she gushed.

Ed got up and kissed Grace sweetly. “It may be a late one.”

“I have an early class so I probably won’t see you until tomorrow night,” she pouted.

“Since I’m going to be away for a week we’re going out to dinner tomorrow night, just the two of us. We can go to that restaurant with all the cheesecakes. This time we skip the appetizer so we can actually try a dessert!”

Grace’s face lit up with a smile and she kissed him again.

He picked up his tool box on the way to his truck and drove over to Stephanie’s. She let him in and immediately she saw how tired he was.

“Oh Ed. I’m so sorry to drag you out on a work night. I can see you’re tired. Let’s just forget it. I can sleep on the couch,” she said with a troubled expression.

“Don’t be silly. It won’t take me long and I’ll be away all next week. It’s tonight or a week from now.” He leaned forward and kissed her forehead and she instantly felt comforted. He set off for the master bedroom carrying his tools with her following.

The new furniture was indeed sitting in the middle of the floor in the large room with the exception of the mattress and box spring which rested against one wall and a very large flat screen TV box resting against another.

“I vacuumed the carpet after they pulled all the old furniture out then they just piled all the stuff here and left.” Stephanie complained.

“Not very good service. You should let the store know.”

“Oh, I intend to do exactly that tomorrow morning!” she said with a fierce look.

Ed chuckled. “Go get ‘em tiger!” That drew a satisfied smile from her.

“We’re going to need to make some room so let’s move this stuff out into the hall, except for the bed,” he suggested.

The two of them were able to get the pieces out of the bedroom and he had her begin removing the plastic wrap on all of those items while he assembled the bed. He really liked the new furniture. It was sleek and contemporary but still solidly built. He read the instructions and realized it was a four poster bed with a canopy. A very romantic look. Compared to the heavy dark furniture the room previously had this was a complete change!

He had Stephanie hold some pieces in place while he bolted them together and it didn’t take him long to get the frame built. It would be up to her to put the fabric canopy over the frame. They unwrapped the box spring and mattress and put both in place.

Then they carried the unwrapped furniture pieces back into the room and positioned them where she thought they looked best.

Finally it was time for the TV. There was a wall mount rack in another box so he realized that needed installing. He pulled out his stud finder from the tool box.

“What’s that?” she asked.

“It’s a stud finder.”

She practically leapt over to him and snatched it from his fingers with a giggle. She glanced at it, pushed the button and held it against his chest. Nothing happened and she pouted dramatically. “It’s not working… Stud!” She couldn’t hold the pout and began to giggle again. He reached for the device and she slid it away down his chest. It wailed as it passed his zipper.

Stephanie’s eyes flew wide and laughter burst from her as Ed rolled his eyes. He plucked the device from her fingers as she gasped for breath from laughing so hard.

“Is that exactly where the bed is going?” he asked. “Once the TV is up that’s where it stays.”

Still chuckling she walked around the bed and confirmed its location. She nodded at him with a mischievous smile as she bit her lip. He just grinned and shook his head.

He located the studs and mounted the rail on the wall. They unpacked the TV and he installed the two brackets on the back of the TV. He turned to Stephanie.

“Do you want to run the cables through the wall?” he asked.

“Would that mean I wouldn’t see any dangling wires?”

“Yes.”

“Then yes, I’d like to do that. Is it hard to do?” she asked.

“No, but I don’t have all the parts to finish the job. I can make the holes and run the cables through for now but I’ll need to come back and add the boxes and wall plates later. To make it look neat.”

She nodded with a smile and he took some more measurements. Then he use a small knife to cut two holes in the drywall both next to a stud but one behind the TV and one a foot off the floor behind the low dresser. He tucked all the cables through the top hole and pulled them out the bottom hole. Then he got Stephanie to help him lift the TV in place. Once it was up he connected all the cables. They moved the dresser back in place and he put the cable box and a digital media player on top of that and made their connections.

He stood back and looked at his handy work. He was pleased with the final appearance. The TV seemed to be floating over the dresser. He looked back and Stephanie was finishing up putting sheets on the bed. She looked at the TV and her eyes lit up.

“That looks incredible! Thanks!”

Ed pressed the power button on the universal remote and the cable box, TV and digital player all came on. He bumped the play button accidentally and suddenly the large screen filled with the image of a naked woman riding an equally naked man. It was artfully done but the look on the woman’s face left no doubt that she was enjoying the aggressive sex.

Stephanie squeaked and leapt at Ed to snatch the remote from his hand. She hit the power switch and the screen went black. “Yup! The TV works!”

“A little research?” he asked with a coy smile.

Her embarrassment quickly turned to a wicked smile and a nod. She really was an imp, Ed thought fondly.

He looked around the room and realized he was all done. Suddenly a huge yawn caught him by surprise. A heavy fatigue descended over him and he moved to put his tools away. Once he was all packed up he set down the box and yawned once more. His eyes were really bleary.

“Ed, I don’t think you should drive home. You look exhausted. You could… stay here with me tonight. I have this brand new king sized bed. Fresh sheets?”

He looked out in the hall and realized he hadn’t heard or seen the kids all night. He looked back at Stephanie.

“Sleep over at Carolyn’s,” she said understanding his unspoken question. “Besides I don’t mind them knowing you’re my… boyfriend,” she said the last word nervously.

Ed saw her watching for his reaction. She thought he’d reject her?

He reached over and pulled her against his chest and felt her relax in his arms. “Yes to both things.” He leaned back a little and took her face between his hands. He gazed into her happy blue eyes. God! She had so much love in those beautiful eyes. He felt his own heart responding in kind. He knew now. It was love! She was so energetic, adventurous, and full of mischievous glee he found her completely addictive.

Another yawn threatened to shatter the tender moment and she snorted as he struggled to supress it.

“Get undressed before you fall asleep on your feet!” she grinned. He stripped down to his boxers then looked at her delighted expression. While he had undressed she’d put on a nightie.

“Do you have an extra toothbrush?” he asked.

She nodded and dragged him into the bathroom. He opened the package and they brushed their teeth together. Then they went back to the bed and crawled in.

“I promise tonight will just be for sleeping. I can see you’re exhausted. It’s just really nice to be able to sleep next to someone after so long,” she said with a tremulous smile.

“Now that we’re officially girlfriend and boyfriend it’s ok for me to tell you I love you, right?” he said quietly.

Stephanie gasped and her eyes filled with tears. She leaned over and kissed him tenderly. When she pulled back tears of joy were on her cheeks. “Yes, Ed! That’s perfectly fine to say! It’s wonderful! I- I love you too!”

“I was talking with Rachel about my relationships with the six women in my life. I’m still trying to figure it all out. I have strong feelings for all of you but aside from Grace and Rachel I wasn’t sure if it was love. You’re all so different and my feelings get all jumbled up sometimes. I- I can be kinda slow when it comes to people stuff. It takes me time to understand feelings. I’m sorry about that,” Ed apologized looking her straight in the eyes then another yawn overtook him.

Her smile was brilliant. “Go to sleep big man. We can talk in the morning.”

He nodded and closed his eyes.

He felt her snuggle in and sigh contentedly then he was gone.



Chapter 6

The restaurant was just as busy as it had been on their first ‘date’. That was before they’d confessed their love for each other. It had been a pretend date but it was a special memory for both of them.

Tonight Grace was wearing the earrings he’d bought for her that night and she looked ravishing. She’d been losing weight slowly but steadily as she watched her diet and kept her idle hands busy with her classwork. She had little time to snack as she was completely absorbed with her classes. Rachel had taken her out shopping and found some lovely clothes that fit her less abundant form. She would never be as svelte as Rachel was as it just wasn’t in her genes but Ed loved her as she was and she gained an enormous amount of satisfaction from that fact.

Once more they were almost undone by the variety on the menu. Ed ordered the burrito once more and Grace tried something new. They sipped at their waters as they waited.

“Are you all packed?” she asked.

“Yes, Rachel did that for me.”

“Is your passport up to date?”

“I still have almost nine years to go on it. Mr. Drakos insisted I get it but I’m not sure why. I have no stamps in it yet.”

“Well your first one will be Barbados!” Grace smiled.

“I wish you were coming with us,” Ed said sadly.

“You know I can’t take the time now. Rachel promised me she’d take good care of you.” Grace said taking his hand.

He smiled and nodded then lifted her hand to his lips. Her face got a little flushed at the feel of his soft caress.

Their orders arrived and talk took a back seat to eating the delicious food. Grace did tell him about her classes, her teachers, and some of the other students.

Ed told her that Mr. Drakos told him that he’d realized he’d been pushing Ed too hard all week so Ed got to stick around the office today just finishing up his paperwork. He’d only had to work an extra thirty minutes.

Then he told her about the work he’d done at Stephanie’s the night before. He told her that he’d determined that he loved Stephanie and did his best to explain it. She watched him struggle, trying to put into words something that could only be felt. She gripped his hand once more and smiled at him.

“It’s ok Ed. I get it. I know what you’re trying to say.”

The relief on his face was enormous. He stuttered from the anxiety of trying to express something he barely understood.

“I- I love you Grace. I don’t know where I’d be without you!” he said as he leaned forward to hold her palm against his cheek. He kissed the inside of her wrist sending tingles through her body.

She pulled her hand back reluctantly. If she hadn’t she might have jumped him there in the restaurant.

They were too full for dessert so they missed out once more. Feeling pleasantly stuffed they headed home.

When they went upstairs Grace pulled him into a hug in the hall. “You should head off to bed right now. You have an early start in the morning.”

“Could you sleep with me?” Ed asked.

She smiled up at him and nodded. “Just let me get ready for bed.”

Rachel had left them a note indicating that she had gone to bed early as well so Ed retired to his bedroom and undressed. He pulled on some boxers to sleep in, brushed his teeth and got into bed.

He was beginning to doze off when his bedroom door opened and closed as Grace entered. He felt the mattress shift then her wonderful softness was pressing up against his side.

“Mmmmm!” he rumbled deep in his chest as he rolled onto his side to wrap his arm around her.

“God Ed! You make me feel so safe and loved when you hold me!” she purred against his chest.

He rolled back onto his back and suddenly she was lying on his chest. He enjoyed the feel of her breasts pressing against him and moved his hands down to her ass.

“Ohhhh!” she moaned as he kneaded her flesh there. He pulled her up his body until he could kiss her and wasted no time in doing so. Her lips were still the softest he’d ever kissed and his head spun every time he did. He couldn’t believe she was in his arms kissing him in return. His kiss turned demanding and she whimpered with need as she returned his passion.

His hands went under her silky pj bottoms and he relished the feel of her skin. He dipped a hand between the full orbs and slid his fingers along the softest skin causing Grace to pull back from the kiss and gasp.

“Oh Ed! Oh my god!”

Then he slipped his fingers inside.

She clung to his shoulders and tucked her head into his neck as she sucked in her breath. She suddenly pushed back from Ed causing him to extract his fingers. She crawled backwards down his body until her face was above his waist. She pulled down his boxers and his thick cock slapped up against his stomach.

Grace moaned as she looked at the beast. She leaned down and ran her tongue along it from the base to the sensitive tip and this time it was Ed who sucked in his breath. He was so hard and hot under her tongue. She lifted it up and pressed her lips to the tip enjoying how Ed twitched and shook under her control. She loved giving him pleasure and loved his reaction to it. She knew she could take him deeper than the others so she opened her mouth and guided his cock between her lips. She bobbed over the head, dragging her lips over the sensitive ridge and she felt his cock swell even more. Before he could prepare she pushed forward taking him deep into her mouth until the head bumped into the back of her throat. A gentle push and it continued down her throat.

“Oh fuck! Grace! Geezus!” Ed gasped gripping the sheets

She slowly pumped him in her throat until she had to pull back to catch a breath. She looked up at him with hungry eyes and saw the fire in his.

Ed reached down and pulled her up onto his chest once more and tugged her pj bottoms off. Instead of kissing her he rolled over on top of her pressing her to the bed. She cried out feeling the heat of his cock against her pussy. He reached down and positioned himself at her wet opening. Pushing forward the first three inches drove inside. She cried out and clung to him. He was so fucking thick!

He pulled back and drove forward again, his passion taking control. Grace bit down on her cries as there was some pain involved but there was so much pleasure she’d endure this. He seemed to come to his senses then Grace kissed his neck and he pulled back and drove forward again. He was almost fully inside and Grace’s eyes began to roll back from the flood of sensations rushing through her body. He began to pump in earnest and soon the sound of their bodies slapping together filled the room.

Grace was in heaven. The pain faded to a background ache as wave after wave of bliss crashed against her mind. He was a force of nature, undeniable, untiring, wild and passionate. She clawed at his back and his thrusting became more aggressive until he was pounding her into the mattress. Grace lost track of the number of orgasms she’d had as it seemed like one continuous rollercoaster ride through endless peaks.

Ed ground his teeth together as his body clenched and shuddered through a colossal release. He clung to Grace and kissed her neck, his cock buried to its base feeling the ripple of her inner walls massaging him. He held himself above her body, not resting his entire weight on her but enjoying the touch of their skin on skin. Finally he softened inside her and he pulled back and rested next to her.

“Oh my god, Ed! That was intense and wonderful!” she exclaimed softly. They relaxed for a bit then Grace made a brief visit to his washroom before snuggling back into bed with him. Any thought of continuing the conversation was lost as she heard Ed’s gentle snoring. Grace smiled and settled in for a few hours of sleep until he had to get up.

Chapter 7

Ed breathed in deeply and stared in wonder at the lush forest the shuttle bus drove them past. Rachel held his hand as she enjoyed his excitement. He was in a different country! It smelled different! It looked different! The air felt different! The accents were different! Most of all it was HOT!

Ed looked over at Rachel and once more admired the sundress she was wearing. She’d changed in the airport washroom while he waited and when she returned it was all he could do to keep from staring. She looked gorgeous and the cleavage on display made him think fondly of summer back home.

He was still over dressed in his jeans and long sleeve shirt which he’d rolled up at least.

The drive to their resort wasn’t long and soon they were pulling up the tree lined drive to a large low rise building surrounded by tropical flowers and large trees.

Ed followed Rachel into the lobby while the driver handed over the bags to the hotel staff. Rachel walked up to the reception desk.

“Hello. Rachel Thompson and Edward Walters checking in.”

The young woman smiled at Rachel and looked up her name on the computer. “Ah! Yes, welcome! We have you in one of our Prestige Suites.” Rachel grinned and signed where she needed to sign. They took a credit card imprint for purchases made. The clerk held up a pretty pink band and indicated Rachel should hold out her arm. The woman wrapped the band around her wrist and when the two ends were beside each other they clicked together tightly.

“This is your room key and identity bracelet for the entire resort. If you wish to purchase anything you simply need to touch the bracelet to the payment machine.” Ed stepped forward and she wrapped a larger black band around his wrist. “It’s completely water proof and it won’t accidentally come off.”

Ed admired the bracelet. “You will need to return that once your stay is over no matter how pretty you think it looks on you,” the young woman teased and both Rachel and Ed chuckled.

She then waved over a young man. “Lionel will guide you to your room. Please enjoy your stay and if you have any questions please feel free to ask any of the staff.”

Rachel and Ed followed Lionel who was pushing their luggage in a trolley through the grounds. He pointed out the locations of the pools, the bars, the restaurants, the gym, the beach access and the watersport activity center where they could book everything from kayaks to jet skis.

They stopped at the end of the low rise building and climbed the stairs to the fourth (top) floor and Lionel showed Rachel how to use her bracelet to unlock her door. The room was large and nicely decorated with a large four poster bed but it was the view from the large balcony that made it special. The beach and the ocean beyond could clearly be seen and the sound of the surf could easily be heard. Each balcony was private with walls between each and there was room for two lounge chairs and two regular chairs on either side of a small table. Lionel brought up their bags and left them with a smile.

There was a sheet of paper on the desk which indicated there would be a manager’s rum punch reception this evening. As it was midafternoon they still had hours until that.

“Let’s go for a walk on the beach!” Rachel suggested and Ed smiled. That sounded awesome! He’d never been to the beach before.

They got changed and once more Ed was stunned by Rachel’s beauty. She had on her glittery bikini with a colorful wrap around her waist. This time he was unable to stop his jaw from dropping. He’d put on his grey board shorts with the black, white, and deep grey lines. He liked how they looked on him and was getting used to wearing tighter pants though he was still self-conscious when he got excited. Like he was becoming now. He looked up into her blue eyes and he saw the happiness and satisfaction there.

Ed picked up the white, short sleeved shirt Rachel had picked up for him for the trip.

“Let me put some lotion on you before you wear that.” Rachel suggested. He nodded.

She squirted some lotion on his hands and he did his front while she quickly rubbed lotion on his back. He returned the favor for her then they headed outside. As they were at the quiet end of the building, getting to the beach was just a matter of a few seconds walk. Then they were out in the sand.

The breeze coming off the sea was carrying scents Ed had never smelled before. He was enthralled. They made their way down to the water’s edge and they both took off their sandals and carried them as they walked in the warm waters.

“What do you think Edward?” she smiled up at him.

“It’s magical!” he said with a grin. “Thank you for bringing me here!” He struggled to keep his eyes on her face. “Sorry, but you look incredible!”

She smiled as a warmth spread through her body that had nothing to do with the tropical sun. He was so good for her!

They walked hand in hand along the water’s edge for a while then turned back, facing the sun. The feel of it warming their skin while the breeze cooled them was so shocking after the freezing temperatures at home. He couldn’t stop grinning. It was crazy! Just hours ago he had to be bundled up to be outside. Now he was just in his shorts and an open shirt that left his chest completely exposed in the breeze.

He stole glances at Rachel but she caught him and he blushed. His shorts were becoming tight and she stopped them to get a kiss. He tasted her mouth and succulent lips as she ground her body against his, feeling his hard cock straining to be free. She moaned with desire and pulled back from his mouth.

“If there was a way to do it without being arrested I’d take this in my mouth right now!” she growled sexily at him as she discretely rubbed his cock. She felt him throb strongly in response. Fuck, she wanted him. “Let’s go back to the room!”

He nodded, not trusting himself to talk. They started walking once more but now there was a purpose to their step. They rinsed the sand off their feet and slipped their sandals on before they headed back along the path towards the building… coming face to face with Dale and Tristan. He was in one of those loud flowery shirts and black board shorts and Tristan was wearing a white bikini with a gossamer black wrap around her waist.

“What-” Rachel began in surprise.

“Hello Rachel, Edward,” the man said, the Texan twang in his deep voice giving away his nervousness.

“Hello Rachel. Hello Edward.” Tristan looked a little desperate.

“Did you two win a trip down here too?” Ed asked with a smile.

Dale smiled and shook his head. “No, we paid full price and then some.”

“Why?” Rachel asked, her hackles coming up. This was starting to feel like an ambush and it was supposed to be a relaxing, fun getaway dammit!

“I needed to apologize. I was so incredibly rude and closed minded. We struck it off so well and then I went and destroyed that trust with my stupid pig headedness. Can you forgive me?” Tristan pleaded.

Rachel looked at Tristan with wide eyes. “You flew all the way down here to apologize? You had a week! You could have just picked up the phone!”

“Believe me I was miserable for that week but I was also out of town dealing with a family matter. When I got back I knew you’d be heading down here so it would be at least another week. I didn’t know that Dale made arrangements for us to fly down here so I could apologize face to face. I can’t believe how incredibly judgmental I’ve been especially considering what he and I have to go through.”

“You may have noticed we aren’t exactly the same age or even close for that matter.” Dale said with a wry grin.

Rachel was feeling a little better but they’d really derailed her.

“Why does that matter?” Ed asked. “You’re married. You love each other.”

The older gentleman smiled gently and Tristan’s eyes began to fill with tears. She stepped closer to Ed.

“Can you forgive me for judging you?”

“There’s nothing to forgive,” he said with a smile.

Tristan was suddenly hugging Ed and crying on his shoulder. He was still very stiff from Rachel’s attentions so he tried to move his hips back. She became aware of something hot and hard pressing against her.

“Oh!” she exclaimed and pushed back, automatically looking down. “OH!!! Oh gosh! I’m sorry! We were interrupting something I think!”

Rachel smiled at Tristan’s blush and nodded to the woman. Tristan gave her a quick hug then pulled her husband by the hand towards the beach. Dale wore a confused and exasperated expression.

Ed turned to Rachel who took his hand and led him back to their room. She pulled him to the bed and knelt down before him. She pulled his shorts down and his thick cock bounced out. She pushed him to a seating position on the bed with his legs wide and her between them.

“God, I’ve been thinking about taking you in my mouth since we kissed on the beach,” she moaned and wasted no more time. She gripped his shaft and took his cock as deep in her mouth as she could manage. She pressed him firmly against the back of her throat until her gag reflex told her enough! She eased off and began to pump her mouth up and down on his cock as one hand stroked the remaining part of his cock and her other hand rubbed his balls.

“Oh Rachel! Oh my god that feels so good!” Ed moaned and ran his fingers through her soft and brilliant red hair.

She hummed happily as she kept up the motions, reveling in the heat and solidity of him in her mouth. She began to go faster and pump more aggressively.

“Rachel… Rachel… I’m going to… Rachel… you have to stop…I- I’m cumming!” he cried.

She pumped his cock with her hands as he fired his cum into her mouth. She continued until he was finished. She leaned back and showed him what she’d collected in her mouth. Then she swallowed the mouthful.

Ed picked her up and pulled her onto the bed. He pulled the ties on her bikini and uncovered her large tits. Her nipples were stiff with excitement. He immediately sucked one into his mouth and caressed the bud with his tongue. Rachel cried out and he moved to her other tit. Rachel’s cries escalated and he didn’t let her recover before he pushed her legs up and stroked her wet pussy with his tongue. He used more force than he normally would as he knew she wasn’t as sensitive and needed the extra pressure.

“EDWARD! YES! LIKE THAT! OH GOD!”

He slurped at her pussy, sucking at the lips and strongly flicking her clit.

“FUCK! Oh god… SHIT! FUCK! YES!” Rachel was shaking with need as he used his mouth on her.

He sat up and positioned his cock over her slick opening and lowered the head down into her.

“Oh YYYYYYYEEEEEESSSSSS!” she moaned as he pushed himself deeper and deeper until his pelvis touched hers. He looked down in surprise. He’d never been this deep in Rachel before. Maybe it was the position? Whatever it was it felt incredible!

He began to drive his cock into her like a piledriver, slapping her body with his.

Rachel was going out of her mind. He had her legs pushed back and he was filling her up with his cock. More than she’d ever felt before. She was overwhelmed. It was too much but she never wanted it to stop. Her mouth opened but she couldn’t speak. Her body began to shake as the impacts against her clit rocketed her towards a delicious release.

“harder,” she managed to whisper and Ed took her at her word. He started to pound her pussy with quick shallow strokes which forced his cock deep inside.

“UUUHHH! FFFUUUUU!” was all she managed as her body clamped down on him and her eyes shut tightly.

Ed was only able to drive himself deep two more times before his own orgasm struck. He rocked his hips, grinding against Rachel and she squeaked. She gripped his arms digging her nails into his biceps almost painfully as she whimpered and shook.

Slowly the pleasure ebbed and Ed’s cock softened within her. He allowed her legs to return to the bed and withdrew himself from her body. Rachel was breathing hard and was covered with a sheen of perspiration. He rested on his side with his head braced on his hand so he could keep an eye on her face. She wasn’t coming down from this one as quickly as she normally did and he was concerned.

“Oh… my god… Ed,” she finally managed to pant.

“Are you ok?” he asked gently.

Her eyes tracked over to him and she seemed to be struggling to remain awake. “Yes… it just took… more out of me… than I expected. So… powerful!” she whispered.

“Maybe you should take a nap?” he suggested.

“Yes, that would be good. Wake me an hour before the manager’s party,” she said looking up at him in wonder.

“What?” he asked, puzzled by her expression.

“I’m just marveling at how lucky I am to have a second chance at love.” A tear beaded up on her eyelash.

“Hey! No crying after sex!” he said with a smile and her face broke into a grin as she chuckled.

“I love you, beautiful lady! I love making love with you! I love being with you! Get some rest and I’ll wake you when it’s time to get ready for the party. I’m going to get cleaned up and look for a snack. I’m hungry all of a sudden,” he said with a smile. He leaned over and kissed her lips tenderly and she closed her eyes. She was asleep before he’d left the bed.

He took a quick shower, put his clothes back on and wandered down to the lobby. They directed him to the beach restaurant which served snacks. He walked across the grounds breathing in the warm moist air and feeling the sun on his face. He found a table overlooking the beach and placed an order for a burger and fries.

He was just enjoying the scenery when he heard someone clearing their throat. He looked away from the beach and saw Tristan was standing next to the table. He stood up and asked if she’d like to join him. She smiled and took the offered chair. Ed sat down across from her.

“It was very gracious of you to forgive my earlier behavior Ed,” she said humbly.

He just shook his head but she continued on.

“When I married Dale five years ago I was twenty-five and he was fifty-five. Initially all we had in common was we were both tall… and lonely. I fell for him hard but my family didn’t understand. My friends didn’t understand either. It was a really hard time for me. I love him with every ounce of my being. We click. We’re soul mates. I can talk with him about anything. But back then I lost all of my support group. I was basically shunned. They said some really nasty stuff. Dale almost called it off as he couldn’t stand to see me suffer but I convinced him I’d suffer far worse if I lost his love. We moved away and met new people. People who weren’t so quick to judge or who also have relationships outside the norm. It was good for a while though I saw a lot of pain when these new girlfriends were used and abandoned by the young men in their lives. When Dale retired some of those people no longer wanted to be our friends. I guess they weren’t really friends to begin with. We moved again and met new people. These ones are worse than the last group.” Her face showed her sadness but brightened when she looked across the table at Ed. “Then I met Rachel. I clicked with her. She’s good people!”

Ed smiled at that. It was true. She is.

“I- I reacted badly when I saw you with her. I judged you harshly.” The sad look was back.

“I’d like us to get past this. What can I do to make you believe that I forgive you?” Ed asked.

She snorted with a grin and looked at the table’s surface. The waitress brought Ed’s food and asked Tristan if she wanted anything. She just ordered a glass of water.

Once they were alone again Tristan looked at Ed with a mischievous smile. “You could give me some french fries. Then I’d know you’ve truly forgiven me.”

“MY FRENCH FRIES!?! YOU ASK TOO MUCH!” Ed gasped in mock outrage.

Tristan burst into giggles and Ed pushed his plate towards her.

She took some and hummed happily as she ate the crispy fries. The waitress returned immediately with her water and Tristan thanked her.

Ed dug into the burger and smiled as his taste buds came alive. He made quick work of the burger and Tristan watched in awe.

“You must have really worked up an appetite-” she froze as she suddenly recalled what he and Rachel had been doing. “So where is Rachel?” she said then bit her traitorous tongue.

Ed blushed and looked at the woman across from him. “Taking a nap. Where is Dale?”

“Taking a nap- not because we had sex- I mean, he likes to take a nap in the afternoon. He says it helps him to be sharp at dinner.” Tristan was beet red and had twisted the paper napkin into shreds.

“Not awkward. At all,” Ed smiled.

Tristan burst into giggles once more and relaxed. “I’m really looking forward to meeting the rest of Rachel’s friends. Can you tell me about them?”

“Sure! I think Angie is Rachel’s best friend though she also hangs out with Zoe. The three of them can be pretty wild together I’m told. Angie’s husband used to be a rock star but he got sick and died. She’s a lovely woman. She has a daughter named Isabelle who was going to University but isn’t right now. Zoe also has a daughter but she’s in prison right now for kidnapping and assault & battery.”

“Oh my god! Who did she kidnap?” Tristan gasped.

“Me.”

“What?!?”

“It was for a sorority house or… something like that? She drugged me and put me in restraints so she could use me to frighten the new pledges. The drugs were really rough on me and I was off work for a week. I understand her father was a bad influence on her. He’s serving a life sentence for murder I think. But Zoe isn’t like that at all. She’s… she’s…” Ed’s heart and mind were doing flips when he thought about Zoe. “I’m having trouble describing her but you’ll like her. I hope I haven’t frightened you off. Zoe’s good people too!”

Tristan was staring at Ed in shock. He’d been tortured by the woman’s daughter and he was still having a relationship with her. Her curiosity was going through the roof!

“Stephanie and Carolyn are best friends that live in the neighborhood and hang out with us. Stephanie has four wonderful kids but her husband cheated on her multiple times so she’s divorced now. She’s so full of life and fun! She really likes movies.” Ed suddenly blushed as he thought he might have said too much. Tristan watched this with interest.

“Carolyn was an anthropologist and lived in the jungle with tribes when she was younger. She has an awesome tattoo on her back which is the only written record of a lost tribe’s language. She writes books now. She has two kids and her husband recently died. He was badly beaten by the friends of the lady boys he was having sex with in Thailand. He died of his injuries. That means Carolyn is a widow. She’s really smart and very nice because she never makes me feel dumb!”

Ed frowned in thought for a second then looked at Tristan once more. “Sometimes another neighbor hangs out with us. She owns the first home on the street. Mishka Shyamalan. She’s a surgeon at the hospital. She told me she’s the best one there. She’s dating Grace’s best friend Heather. They’re a really cute couple!”

“Oh Ed, now I really want to meet them! They sound wonderful!” Tristan gushed with a big smile.

“There was another neighbor whose name is Victoria. I thought we’d be adding her to our group but her husband was a very bad man. He was a judge but he’d killed a man! He was apparently not very nice to her either. He was going to kill me as he thought I was having an affair with her. In the end Victoria shot him dead and now I think she’s in prison too.”

“You weren’t in a relationship with her?” Tristan asked.

“No! She was married and had two daughters! I’d never break up a marriage.” Ed said vehemently.

Tristan saw Ed had a strong moral compass even if it didn’t always conform to societies rules. She snatched another fry from his plate and he fake scowled at her menacingly. She winked at him and thought about how he brightened up talking about the kids.

“Do you want kids of your own?” she asked.

“Yeah, one day. If Grace wants one,” he answered.

“I think you’d make a great dad,” she said honestly watching him accept the compliment with a shy nod and smile.

“What about you?” he asked.

Tristan winced and Ed immediately felt horrible for opening his mouth. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have asked that.”

“No, fair’s fair. I asked you the same question,” she said. “We tried a few years ago but… it didn’t work.”

He nodded and they both looked out at the beach.

“I’ve never been to a beach before today.” Ed said quietly. He was thinking of Grace and wishing she was here to join them. He would have to bring her on a tropical vacation one day.

“Never?”

He shook his head. “We never had any money to travel and there are no beaches where I live. I’ve never flown anywhere. I’ve never been on an island before. This is the first time I’ve been away from home.” Suddenly a wave of homesickness washed over him and he gasped as he gripped the edge of the table.

Tristan recognized what he was experiencing as she’d gone through the same thing when she and Dale first moved away from her friends and family. A sense of displacement. She reached across the table and took his hand. “It’s OK, Ed. This feeling goes away. Home is still there and you will go back to it soon. You’re just feeling a little disconnected. It happens. I’ve felt that way too. Listen to my voice. Concentrate on what I’m saying to you.”

Ed’s pale blue eyes fastened on hers and she suddenly felt his full attention locking on her. It was almost tangible. She needed him to come back to the now.

“Feel the breeze on your face. Feel the heat. The table feels smooth under your hand-”

“Your hand is strong but very soft. Your rings are hard and smooth. Your eyes are blue but flecked with gold…” he seemed to relax then he looked around like he was waking up. He glanced at his hand in hers and pulled his hand back with a blush. He looked at the time. “I think I’d better go wake up Rachel so she can get ready for the party. Are you and Dale going to be there?”

She smiled at him. “Yes, we’ll be there. Don’t let him trick you into drinking the hard stuff!” she teased.

He grinned. “I read they’re serving punch. I should be safe with that.”

“Oh boy,” she thought.

They got up and went their own ways. Tristan walked slowly back to her room to give herself time to think. She really had been completely wrong about Ed. He was as innocent and genuine as Rachel said. She couldn’t pin down what it was about him that made her immediately want to protect him. It was a ludicrous concept considering his size. That thought brought her back to that moment when she first hugged him by the beach. He was a large man in more than one way. Dale was also a large man so she knew what she was feeling. No doubt Rachel enjoyed his attentions. The old pang surfaced as she thought about Ed’s question about children. While she kept it from her husband she really did want a child of her own. To feel it grow inside her. To bring it into the world.

She savagely pushed that thought aside. It wasn’t meant to be.

-=-

The manager’s rum punch party wasn’t what Ed expected at all and the punch was strong! He’d had two already and his head felt funny.

He saw Dale and Tristan coming down the path and he smiled and waved, spilling some of his drink. They grinned back at him.

“I see he’s found the rum punch.” Tristan smiled at Rachel who was absolutely glowing tonight.

“Yes and he’s stopping at two,” she stated in her no-argument voice with a hint of a smile.

Ed bowed his head in fake shame. “They said it was punch!”

Tristan giggled and Rachel relaxed. Something had passed between her and Ed. The hesitation, the holding back was gone. She was open to Ed now and Rachel was able to relax. Dale was also relaxed and looked splendid in his black linen shirt and white linen pants. Very dapper for a manager’s party. Ed was also very sharply dressed in his tan explorer’s shirt and khaki pants. Rachel had on her gold cocktail dress which drew Ed’s gaze frequently as well as other nearby eyes. Tristan looked splendid in her red cocktail dress as it showed off her shapely, long legs.

The new arrivals were handed their rum punches and Ed gracefully refused a replacement for his empty glass.

“What do people do at a Manager’s Rum Punch Party?” Ed asked looking around at the other guests milling about. “Is this it?”

“It’s a chance to mingle and meet new people. I believe the Manager actually makes an appearance and greets the guests.” Dale replied.

Ed asked a passing waitress for a glass of water. She returned with one in moments and he thanked her.

Rachel gave him a smile and he winked back.

The Manager took that moment to arrive and he did give a short speech welcoming everyone to the resort and ran through a list of activities they would be offering. Ed perked up when they mentioned going on a cruise. There was a party boat and a catamaran cruise. Either appealed to Ed. He just liked the idea of going for a ride on a boat. Once the manager was done they decided to head over to the dining room. They got a table for four overlooking one of the pools. Very few people were in the pool at this hour. They looked over the menu and placed their orders. Ed decided to try some fish and Dale recommended the grouper.

Once the group was alone again Ed looked around the table. “Anyone interested in those cruises they offered?”

Rachel nodded as did Tristan. Rachel said the catamaran as Tristan said the party boat. They chuckled.

“OK, it’s settled. We do both.” Dale grinned and Ed’s eyes lit up.

“Tomorrow we were thinking of renting a car and driving around to see some of the sights on the island. You’re welcome to join us.” Dale offered.

Rachel looked at Ed who nodded. “We’d be delighted,” she said.

“I’d also like to poke around Bridgetown to do some shopping sometime this week.” Tristan said.

“Ooo! Count me in!” Rachel grinned and Ed rolled his eyes.

Dale chuckled as he felt exactly how Ed did about that. He had a thought. “Maybe the ladies could go shopping and the men could try our hand at deep sea fishing.”

“I’ve never fished before,” Ed said.

Dale put on a tragic expression and looked at the ladies. “Now we have to go fishing!”

It was Tristen’s turn to roll her eyes.

Dinner was delicious and Ed thanked Dale for the suggestion. He really enjoyed the grouper!

They went to the bar and ordered drinks. As it was almost time to turn in for the night Ed could have another drink. They did a little dancing and Rachel told Ed she was done after two. He went back out on the floor with Tristen as Dale wanted to sit out this one as well.

“Everything ok?” he asked when they were alone.

She glanced at his perceptive eyes and smiled. “Yes, we were just a little too enthusiastic this afternoon and I’m feeling it now.”

He nodded with a sympathetic smile. Her eyebrows went up. “Oh! Not today but there have been times. They have more energy.”

“Like kids.” Rachel said absently.

“Do you have children?” he asked.

“No, I discovered early on that I wouldn’t be able to have them. I think that’s one of the reasons my ex married me. He didn’t want any more kids. He had the one son. That was enough for him. I’ve always wanted one.” Rachel said sadly.

“So does Tristan.”

Rachel looked at his sad expression. “But…”

“I’m the same as you. Not able,” he said looking away. “She says she is ok with it but I’ve seen the pain in her eyes when she thinks I’m not watching and someone walks by with a baby.”

The song ended and the dancers returned to the table. Dale wiped his sad expression away and gave his wife a smile. “I’m pooped,” she announced.

“Time to hit the hay?” he asked and she nodded.

“Well, we’ll see you at breakfast. 8:30AM?” Dale asked and received nods.

-=-

After breakfast the following day the four sat in the lobby waiting for a man to bring them the rental car. They’d discussed what sites they’d visit and settled on a tour of the outer perimeter of the island and stopping along the way. The Animal Flower Cave was at the most northern tip of the island. The rock formations at Bathsheba were on the east coast. Harrison’s cave was almost smack dab in the middle of the island so would require a diversion inwards. They just wanted to see the island and a drive through the country seemed to be the best way to do it.

A slim older man approached them with a clipboard and car keys and sat with them to fill out the paperwork. When they discovered the car was a right hand drive vehicle Dale was a little nervous so Ed offered to drive. They switched to Ed’s license and Rachel’s for the second day of the rental as she’d drive Tristan into Bridgetown tomorrow for their shopping day. Dale had already booked the fishing expedition the following day. The paperwork taken care of, they made their way out to see the small car they’d rented.

“It’s cute.” Tristan said and Dale looked at it with concern.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been in a car this small,” he grumbled.

There was a lot of glass so they’d certainly have an unobstructed view as they drove. They piled in, ladies taking the back seat to chat, and headed out. They’d agreed to avoid the larger highways as they wanted to take a slower pace and see the island more intimately.

Driving on the left felt a little weird at first but Ed was concentrating hard and it clicked into place. They used roundabouts instead of four way stops so that also took a little getting used to but once again Ed saw the pattern and slipped into it.

Dale was a nervous passenger but Ed’s natural calm and lack of aggression put him at ease. Ed was a safe driver seemingly lacking the recklessness of youth. Soon Dale was able to ignore the driving entirely and just enjoy the view though he was chief navigator with a crappy map.

The resort was on the southern end of the island and they’d decided to travel clockwise so their first challenge was navigating through Bridgetown. The capital was large and busy but they made their way through it with only a few wrong turns. Ed never lost his cool when the directions he was given pointed him the wrong way and he got them back on the route smoothly each time. Everyone relaxed and there was a lot of giggling going on in the back seat.

Finally they exited out the northern side of the city and were on their way. The waters on the western side of the island were flat and calm contrasting to the waves they had on the southern edge. It looked so serene. Ed preferred the waves.

They reached the point where they had to move onto smaller side roads to make their way further north. Eventually they pulled into a large gravel parking lot. They saw the sign for the Animal Flower Cave. Getting out of the car they heard the crash of the surf against the rocks and they made their way forward to see the rough seas. Dale pointed out that heading north from here you’d only find the open waters of the Atlantic until you reached the east coast of Canada. That was a very large expanse of water. Heading straight east you wouldn’t see land until you reached Africa. Barbados stood alone, well east of the curving arc of Caribbean islands.

They paid their admission and followed the guide down the steps into a cave which was open to the northern exposure. Ed helped Rachel and Dale helped his wife move around in the cave. Trish had a small camera and their guide took pictures of the group for them.

Once back up at the car they looked at the map again and worked out a way to reach Bathsheba through the smaller byways. The east coast of the island bore the brunt of the wind and waves and its rugged beauty brought smiles to their faces. They stopped along the way so Tristan could take pictures.

Bathsheba was lovely. They parked and walked along the beach and took pictures of the huge rock rising out of the surf. Everyone was feeling a little hungry by this point so it was back to the car to map out their next target. They decided to aim for Crane Beach as there was a resort nearby where they could buy lunch.

The drive was scenic and the beach was lovely but Ed’s stomach was impatient for lunch. They found the restaurant and once more ordered some amazing seafood. Ed was wondering if he’d be able to make meals like this at home.

Dale and Tristan were feeling very good about the day so far. Rachel and Ed were excellent travel companions. Easy going, fun, with enough intelligence and wit to make conversations interesting. They also seemed to hold the same values as them. They were hopeful that they’d found the beginnings of a new social circle.

Harrison’s Caves was going to take some serious navigating from Crane beach so they got out the map while they ate ice cream for dessert and went over possible routes. Rachel dripped ice cream on the map and Dale and Ed shrieked in mock outrage at the difficulty of reading their impossibly poor map now that it had ice cream stains on it. Much giggling ensued from the ladies. Once they settled on a few possible routes, knowing they’d get lost a few times, they headed out.

They were right. They did get lost but that only added an additional thirty minutes to the trip. They eventually found the tourist spot and parked the car. There was a fair amount of other tourists on the tour which was amazing as the caves were cool and beautifully lit. They rode in a trolley from level to level on a smooth road underground. Water dripped on them from the ceiling adding to the ambiance.

Once they were back on the surface they decided to head back to the resort. Now it was ok to take the faster highway to return but they had a drive through the scenic countryside first to reach it. It didn’t take long to get back once they were on the highway and bypassing the city.

Ed parked the car and handed the keys to Rachel as she’d be the next driver. She was feeling more confident now that they’d driven through Bridgetown and she’d seen where the public parking was located.

They agreed to meet for dinner and went their separate ways. Ed told Rachel he’d meet her at the room as he wanted to check out the gym first. He gave her a kiss then made his way over to the building where the equipment was located. They had a good number of machines and he tried some of them out. Thirty minutes later he felt a little better having gotten in a workout. He was sweaty but he’d take a shower when he got to the room. He pulled off his shirt as it was clinging uncomfortably to him and walked across the property. He saw Tristan walking towards him.

“What happened to you? You’re… wet? Did you go swimming?” she asked taking in his red face and wet muscles.

“I just did a little working out in the gym,” he said, pointing back over his shoulder.

She saw how pumped his muscles looked and smiled. “Driving all over the island wasn’t enough of a workout?”

He snorted. “Hardly! I’m going to go take a shower. See you at dinner?”

She nodded and watched him jog away. Damn!

Rachel was just stepping out of the shower when he arrived so she stepped back in to wash his back, his sides, and, oh what the hell, his cock. She stroked him skillfully as they kissed deeply until he sprayed his cum all over her stomach. He smiled at her as he panted and she rinsed off. She indicated she was good and left the shower to dry off and do her hair. Ed finished up in the shower and got dressed for dinner.

Rachel was wearing her red sun dress which accentuated her breasts and Ed froze when she came out of the washroom. She grinned. “Seriously Edward, you’d think you’ve never seen breasts before.”

“It’s- when you- the dresses you wear. They’re so lovely and do such… amazing things with your…” Ed stuttered and she felt that familiar zing go through her. She prowled over to him, watching him twitch, mesmerized by the motions under the smooth fabric. She pressed her body against his and he moaned.

“We’re going to be late for dinner. Let’s go,” she said with a grin. He whimpered just a little and she walked away with an extra spring in her step.

Their friends were already seated at the table when they entered the restaurant. Ed was walking behind Rachel and her smile was lighting up the room. Ed’s face was looking a little pink and his eyes were having difficulty staying off of Rachel’s ass.

Tristan smiled knowingly.

Dale had his suspicions as well but kept his off his face. “Good evening Rachel. You look very fetching in red,” he said. She nodded her head towards him with a smile.

Taking his cue from Dale, Ed smiled at Tristan and saw she was wearing a daring and glittery silver dress that dipped way down in the front. She smiled at him as he swallowed. “Good- good evening Tristan! That dress looks incredible on you!” he blurted. His face went deep red from embarrassment. Not gifted with a silver tongue at all!

Tristan’s surprised smile was priceless. Her cheeks bloomed red as she saw his admiring gaze and his embarrassment. Dale chuckled at her.

“If you are going to wear something which flatters you so much, you should expect to be admired!” he teased.

She gently swatted his arm and glanced at Ed who was struggling to sit with his pants being so tight. She looked over at Rachel who just smiled back and shrugged.

They decided to order a bottle of wine with dinner and this time Ed went with penne pasta with a bolognaise sauce. He was getting a little too much seafood and needed a change. Rachel switched her order to the pasta as well as it sounded so good.

The wine arrived and they toasted their successful day.

Ed really wasn’t a wine drinker and spotted a couple a few tables over drinking tall, frosty white drinks with little umbrellas in them. He asked the waitress to bring him one of those and Dale shared a smile with Tristan.

When the drink arrived Ed took a sip. “Mmmm! This is really good! I can taste rum in it but it’s also sweet and I taste coconut. It’s like a slushy so I’ll have to avoid brain freeze.”

“It’s a Piña Colada. Depending on how much rum they use it can be deceptively strong,” Dale suggested with a smile. Ed nodded and smiled as he slurped up the sweet drink.

Dinner arrived and they talked about the sites they’d seen on their drive. Dale mentioned that he’d taken the liberty of booking them on the catamaran cruise on Tuesday, the day after tomorrow and the Party boat on Thursday which would give them Friday to recover from the party boat. That got the ladies giggling once more. Wednesday was open. Rachel immediately called it a beach day and everyone nodded.

They finished up their dinner and ordered little bowls of ice cream for dessert. Ed ordered another Piña Colada as well.

“What time do I meet you in the morning tomorrow for the fishing? It’s a crack of dawn thing, right?”

“They don’t do ‘crack of dawn’ down here.” Dale smiled. “We’ll get picked up in the lobby after breakfast. They drive us to the boat and we go out on the ocean with our guide. I think there are two other people signed up to go fishing with us on this charter.”

Ed nodded and sipped at his drink. Damn it was good! “AAAugh! Brain freeze!” he hissed.

-=-

The following morning Dale and Ed waited in the lobby for their ride. The ladies had decided to sleep in and have a late breakfast so it had just been the two men. Earlier Ed had gotten up to go to the gym to work his muscles. When he was done he’d spotted Dale coming back from his run on the beach. They’d waved at each other and went to their rooms to get ready. Rachel insisted Ed bring along the bottle of suntan lotion as his fair skin burned easily. She got out of bed and rubbed some on his back for him, got a kiss, then she went back under the covers.

So now they waited. Ten minutes past 9AM a man walked into the lobby, spotted them and gestured for them to follow him. They walked out to the front and saw a van waiting. The side door was open and two ladies were sitting on the middle bench. Ed squeezed himself past them into the back seat and Dale followed. The driver closed the door and immediately got them on their way, making up for the lost time.

“Good morning! You the people going fishing with us?” Dale asked.

“That’s right,” the older of the two drawled.

Ed blinked at her thick accent. She seemed to stretch her vowels out. It was fascinating!

“I’m Dale and this is my friend Ed. Should be pretty easy to remember those.”

“I’m Sydney and this is my daughter Chloe,” the woman said.

“Daughter?!?” Ed blurted as he’d badly underestimated the woman’s age. She dressed like her daughter. He’d noticed she had a tightly toned body like her daughter’s. Both had long jet black hair. They even looked alike though Chloe had larger boobs in her bright yellow bikini top. Sydney was wearing a hot pink bikini.

“Ooo this one’s flirty like me! I think I’m gonna like him!” Sydney grinned wickedly over her seat at Ed.

Dale saw Ed’s blush and realized he wasn’t flirting. He thought he’d better change the subject quick.

“Have either of you done deep sea fishing before?” he asked.

Chloe just shook her head but Sydney tore her eyes away from Ed to answer. “No, we’re virgins to the sport,” she said with a grin. Chloe rolled her eyes at her mother’s innuendo.

“That makes four of us then,” Dale said. The driver swung around a corner and both Dale and Ed grabbed the seat to brace themselves. Sydney caught the wedding band on Dale’s finger and nothing on Ed’s so she tucked that information away.

The van ground into the gravel parking lot by the dock. The driver shut off the van and hurried around to the side door and opened it. He helped the two ladies out with a big smile and walked with them over to another man, big and barrel chested, tanned and bearded, obviously waiting for them. Dale and Ed pulled themselves free of the van and joined them.

“Hello! I’m Captain Dan and out there is my lovely ship ‘The Silly Fanny’. Named after my late wife, may Poseidon keep her soul,” the captain said in a loud booming voice. The ladies were eating it up and Ed had a grin on his face as well.

“Come aboard. We have an hour’s journey to get to our spot, an hour to fish and an hour’s journey to get back!” He froze dramatically and looked each in the eye. “That’s right, a three hour tour. A three hour tour,” he said with a dramatic tone. Right back to a bubbly voice. “I was kidding about the three hours. We’ll be out there all day. You can call me Skipper.” He pointed at Ed. “You look like a Gilligan! Come on Little Buddy! All aboard!”

With that he stormed away to his boat and they all followed. He gestured to his first mate standing by the bow of the ship as they approached and the man untied them from the dock.

Once they were settled in the captain introduced his first mate as ‘the Professor’ and wasted no more time to get them going. Soon the boat was up to full speed, bouncing over the waves. The noise of the motor made talking difficult but not impossible. At least they were sheltered from the wind inside the cabin.

There was a small table inside the cabin with a wrap-around bench. Sydney and Chloe were sitting facing the back of the boat, Dale had slid in next with his back to the side windows and Ed was next to him.

It suddenly occurred to Dale to ask Ed if he ever got seasick but it was too late now. He watched the young man who was just taking it all in. No sign of problems yet. Dale had been on a number of boats in his life and no longer had trouble. The ladies seemed alright as well.

The Professor offered everyone a drink and Ed took a bottle of water. He promptly spilled it all over his chest when the ship bounced over a rogue wave. He pulled the shirt up and over his head to wring out the water and failed to notice the big eyes and giggling from their fishing companions.

Ed realized he was more comfortable with the shirt off so he folded it and tucked it into the small bag he had with him for carrying his suntan lotion. He smiled at Dale and nodded to the ladies who hadn’t taken their eyes off of him.

“So what brings you down to Barbados?” Sydney asked Ed.

“Rachel won a week’s stay at a resort here,” he said something out the window dragging his attention away for a second.

“Rachel?”

“Oh! Sorry, my girlfriend,” he clarified.

Mother looked at daughter. “She doesn’t like fishing?” Sydney continued.

“Rachel and Tristan, Dale’s wife, are shopping in Bridgetown today.”

Sydney smiled wickedly. “So while the girls shop the boys play.”

Dale thought he might have heard an innuendo in there but he opted not to say anything. They still had a long day ahead of them. No sense in making an issue so early on.

Sydney caught the eye of the Professor and got a beer for herself and her daughter. Dale accepted one too. With a glance at Dale Ed took one.

“Do you drink beer, Ed?” the older man asked.

Ed recalled a football party after winning the State Championships. He drank too much beer and was tricked into being exposed before some of his team mates and their girlfriends… and Rachel. It wasn’t a completely bad memory he supposed. “I’ve had it in the past. It’s ok.”

Sydney raised an eyebrow hearing the exchange. It made her curious about the big man.

“Not a big drinker Ed?”

“Not really. I’m being exposed to new things on this trip though. Dale showed me good scotch which I really like. I love Piña Coladas. I don’t like wine. I love grouper! I like walking on the beach.”

“You’ve never been to a beach before?” Chloe said incredulously as her first words to them.

Ed looked at her. “No, this is the first time I’ve ever travelled anywhere.”

“Well here’s to traveling and meeting new friends!” Sydney raised a toast.

Ed lifted his beer with the others. He recalled the last time he drank beer there was a lot of toasting going on too. They drank and Ed was surprised by the taste. His eyebrows went up and he looked at Dale. “This is good!”

The older man smiled. “Yes, it’s good beer. Likely much better than the beer you had at home.”

Ed took another sip and savored the rich flavors.

Sydney and Chloe were smiling at him across the table. He smiled back. “So what brings you two to Barbados?” he asked.

“Fishing.” Sydney said with a crooked smile looking at Ed’s chest. Chloe shook her head.

“We’re just taking a mother daughter vacation. I work in the travel industry so I get discount rates on flights and hotel accommodations. Home was getting- we needed to get away so we came here.” Chloe sent her mother a warning glance but Sydney just waved her off and took another drink of her beer. She then began to adjust the cups of her bikini and noticed Ed’s eyes catching the motion. She smiled slyly.

Dale could see the mother was going to be trouble but he wasn’t going to intervene unless it looked like Ed needed assistance.

Chloe watched her mother fuss with her bikini top and saw Ed’s attention. She smiled in challenge to her mother then leaned back on the bench to stretch her arms above her head. This put a considerable amount of strain on her own bikini top. Her heavier tits pressed against the fabric and her nipples stood out in relief against the taut fabric, the nipple piercings especially evident.

Dale wore a subtle smile on his lips seeing the battle waged between the two women. Mothers and daughters competing was as natural as fathers and sons he supposed. Ed was squirming as he took in the show, no longer able to tear his eyes away.

Ed couldn’t bear the pressure in his shorts. They were new and had very little give. He should have worn the Lycra jammer suit though that was also just a little too revealing. He had to stand up to relieve the pressure.

“I- I’m just going to get a little air.” Ed said and slid out of the bench. He braced himself and stood clinging to the wall of the boat. He needed a hand on the wall and one on the roof to hold on as the boat bounced.

And there it was.

Pressing hard against the tight fabric of his shorts was a very large, very long, and very rigid bulge. Sydney and Chloe froze and their jaws dropped. Syndey recovered first.

“Did you bring your own fishing pole or is that bait?” she growled sexily.

Ed blushed furiously and made his way to the door. He went through and they could see his back as he braced himself on the back deck.

Dale felt bad for the young man. He could sympathize somewhat with Ed though he wasn’t quite in his league length wise. It was obvious that Ed was very shy and uncomfortable about his… endowment. Maybe he could convince the ladies to go easy on him.

“I think the young man is a little shy about… that,” he said gently.

“Shit! He should be shouting its dimensions off the rooftops! Fuck! He’s huge!” Sydney gasped.

Chloe looked troubled.

“That said, he does have a girlfriend.”

“Are they serious? Because I’d let him do things to me with that which would give a Las Vegas whore a heart attack.”

Dale froze in surprise. When he’d regained his equilibrium he leaned forward. “They’re very serious.”

“It’s not real.”

Sydney looked at her daughter who was still staring at Ed’s back. “What?”

“It can’t be real. It can’t be. It’s a prosthetic!” Chloe’s voice was getting stronger and she was becoming irrationally angry for some reason.

“No, that’s silly. Ed wouldn’t do that.” Dale said, then the bizarre nature of their conversation sandbagged him. What the hell was he doing talking about this? “Listen. Let’s just agree to forget about all this and just enjoy our fishing trip. Ok?”

Sydney looked at him in disappointment but nodded.

Chloe nodded absently but she still hadn’t taken her eyes off of Ed.

Dale gave her a worried look but there wasn’t much else he could do. He looked out the window and tried to regain the peace he’d felt earlier.

-=-

Ed was reliving the humiliation of the football party. The looks on the faces of the two women inside were exactly how his ‘friends’ had reacted to his being completely exposed. Shock and horror. He knew Grace, Rachel, and the others said they had no issues but they loved him and cared about his feelings. They wouldn’t do anything to hurt him. Like say that he was some kind of deformed monster. He suddenly wished he’d gone shopping today.

-=-

Eventually the boat began to slow and the Professor started preparing their gear to do some fishing. He ran through the basics with them. Dale, Sydney and Chloe had experience with fishing so they caught on pretty well. There wasn’t a lot of room at the back so Ed said he’d give it a try after the others had. Dale watched him with concern but he smiled and stepped back.

There was a special belt harness they wore with a cup to rest the end of the fishing pole in.

Ed watched with interest as they dropped their lures in the water. Then it got dull. Ed saw this was a game of patience. He drank a cold beer. Then another. Chloe and Sydney outpaced him on the beer drinking three to one. Twenty minutes later Ed was ready to call it when Dale’s pole took a sudden dip. Everyone took notice and the Professor was right there with Dale offering him advice but keeping out of his way. Sydney and Chloe reeled in their lures and stowed their rods to give Dale the space he needed. After ten minutes of fighting everyone was reaching the conclusion that Dale had something big. The man was perspiring and carefully working the reel to bring the fish to the surface without putting too much strain on the line. Ten more minutes passed and Ed sucked back another cold brew in his excitement. The ladies were cheering Dale whose concentration was completely on the rod and the line. The rod straightened out and the fish shot out of the water into the air fifty feet behind the boat. It was a blue marlin and a decent sized one! Ed was standing at the back of the boat and saw the sunlight glittering off the sides of the fish as it twisted and shook in the air. He was in awe.

Ed didn’t see the two drunken conspiring women sneaking up behind him until he felt his shorts tugged down to his ankles. He spun around in shock and struck Chloe across the cheek with his flaccid cock as she was still holding his shorts down. She rocked back and fell on her ass as she stared at what had just clubbed her across the face.

“HOLY FUCK! Now THAT’S what I call a COCK!” Sydney called out drunkenly and licked her lips.

Chloe was speechless as she held her hand to her cheek. The stinging was just beginning to sink into her drunken mind. She stared at the meat hanging between Ed’s legs and it just wouldn’t register. It wasn’t even hard but she couldn’t accept what she was seeing. Again she became angry but she didn’t know why.

The Professor and Dale managed to pull the Marlin onto the boat as Ed pulled his shorts up. Dale finally noticed what was happening behind him. “WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED HERE?” he bellowed seeing Ed’s red face of shame and Chloe’s equally red face of anger.

Captain Dan slid down the ladder with a grim look on his face. He could see Ed was really upset. “I’m sorry Mr. Walters. I didn’t know what they were up to.” He looked over at Dale and pointed at the women. “They pantsed him.”

Dale’s eyes filled with rage. He looked over at the Professor. “Toss it back in. Captain, take us back to shore please. We’re done.” The captain nodded to his first mate and turned to climb back up the ladder. He stopped at the bottom and turned back to Ed. “Mr. Walters, please join me up top. The view is really nice.” Ed nodded and followed him up.

The first mate stowed the rods and let the captain know they were good to go. He ushered the women and Dale into the cabin then the boat began to pick up speed as it headed back to the island.

Sydney looked upset. “We didn’t get to fish for very long.”

Dale knew she was drunk so he didn’t bother arguing with her. There was no point.

Chloe was still rubbing her cheek and her angry look hadn’t gone away. “He’s a freak,” she growled.

Dale just couldn’t let that go. His temper popped. He slammed his palm down on the table surface and both women leaned away frightened.

“That young man is a far better human being than you’ll ever be. All you see is the outer shell and that’s how you judge him. Pathetic!”

“Hey! We were just having a little fun! He’s an adult! There’s no need to be a dick about this!” Sydney barked back.

“If a strange man were to rip away your clothes in public you would be fully justified in crying rape and that man would face criminal charges. If Ed chooses to do so, I’ll fully support his filing rape charges against the two of you. It’s the same action and it should have the same punishment.”

“It was a prank,” she mumbled.

“Not to the victim it wasn’t. Something your dim, drunk mind seems to be having trouble understanding. Now shut your mouth and think about how you are going to deal with being charged with rape.” He turned his face to look out the window. He saw the worried expressions suddenly appear on their faces before he looked away.

He sighed. He knew Ed wouldn’t file charges against them. He just wanted them to realize their actions had repercussions.

The rest of the trip back was done in silence. Dale’s peace of mind was gone. He was worried about Ed. The look of shame on his face as he pulled up his shorts was stuck in his mind. Dale needed to talk with Rachel. He had to tell her what happened.

He wished they’d gone shopping with the ladies today.

-=-

When they reached the dock a police car was waiting with its lights going. Two officers were standing on the dock. The Professor got the ship tied up and let the police on. The ladies looked terrified.

“Come with us please,” one of the officers said and the two women left the boat with the police. They were placed in the back of the cruiser and the officers got in and drove away. Dale stood on the deck of the boat watching in shock. He looked up and saw Ed descending the ladder. When Ed reached the deck Dale looked closely at him as they moved to the dock. He handed Ed his bag.

“Are you OK Ed?”

The young man just nodded. Captain Dan slid down the ladder and looked over at Dale. “The police are friends of mine. They’re just taking the women back to their hotel. Ed refused to press charges.” He reached up to Dale from the deck of his ship and handed Dale a small memory chip. “I film the guests fishing so I can offer a value added service. The footage on this chip is of you catching the Marlin. It also has the two women pantsing Ed. If you have any more trouble with those women you have this as evidence.”

“Thank you.”

“On behalf of myself and my crew, I’m terribly sorry you had to deal with that. In all my years of running these tours I’ve never seen anything like that behavior.” The captain shook his head and looked at Ed. “Take care of yourself Ed. Remember what I said.”

Ed smiled and nodded to the man.

Dale shook the man’s hand as well as the Professor’s then he and Ed made their way to the waiting van. The ride back to the hotel was much slower. When they arrived Ed said he was going to go take a shower.

Dale nodded and watched the man leave. He went to reception and asked if his wife and her friend had returned yet. A quick check of the computer indicated that his wife had not yet returned to their room. He decided to wait in the lobby to catch Rachel on her way by.

He must have nodded off as he jolted awake when Tristan shook his shoulder. Rachel was standing behind her with a smile on her lips. Both had shopping bags in their hands.

“How went the fishing sleepyhead?” Tristan teased.

“We had a problem. I need to talk with you Rachel.”

“Where’s Ed?” she said sharply, her smile disappearing.

“He’s in your room. Please, let’s go talk in the lounge where we have more privacy.” Dale asked.

They found a quiet corner and Dale went through the events of their trip, leaving nothing out.

Rachel was obviously desperate to see Ed but she stayed to hear the details.

“I don’t know what made Ed think he’s some kind of monster but that self-doubt is still alive and kicking. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that look of shame on his face.”

“I want to scratch their eyes out!” Rachel growled. “Thank you Dale for being there for him. Now I have to go see him. I think we’ll have dinner in the room tonight. See you at breakfast tomorrow? I’ll let you know then if we’ll be joining you on the catamaran trip.”

The couple nodded at Rachel and she rushed off with her shopping bags clutched in her hands. She made it to their room and went inside. “Edward?” she called out.

“On the balcony,” he responded. “Are you alone?”

She wondered at that question. “Yes, just me.”

“Ok.”

She dropped her bags on the desk and made her way out to see him. She saw the top of his head resting back against a lounge chair which had been rolled back to almost touch the glass doors. Hiding from being seen from below. She stepped through the door and came to an abrupt stop. He was naked. The towel he’d wrapped around his waist after his shower was open and hanging down on either side of the chair.

Ed turned his head to look at her. He gave her a smile and seemed to be looking for something in her eyes.

“Dale told me what those two bitches did to you today.”

Ed looked away and chuckled quietly. “Bitches be crazy,” he mumbled.

“What?”

“It’s what Captain Dan told me on the boat. He let me ride up top with him on the way back. He told me not to care what they did or said because they were ‘bitches’ and ‘bitches be crazy’.

Not the grandest examples of wisdom but there was compassion in the message. Rachel gave Captain Dan points for that.

“He was right. You shouldn’t care about their opinions or actions. They were wrong-”

“I’m not normal.” Ed interrupted her.

Rachel stopped and looked at him. “What? Of course you’re normal.”

“No, this part of me is abnormal. Freakish. They wouldn’t react like they do otherwise.”

Rachel flashed back to the night in her basement. The football party. Ed’s humiliation. The screams, curses and laughter. He was still carrying the wounds of that night.

She walked over to him and knelt next to his chair. She gently turned his chin until he was looking at her. She saw the sadness in his eyes. She wished it was possible to go back in time to the party and stop him from following that cruel boy downstairs but that was just a fantasy. It happened. She was here now to help him leave that trauma in the past.

“You’re big. That’s just a fact. You’re NOT freakishly big! You’re not stepping on your penis when you walk. THAT would be freakish.” Ed gave her a small smile for that. “There are many reasons which have nothing to do with you personally that might cause people to react in many different ways to seeing your size. Everyone has their own issues when it comes to sexuality. Everyone has feelings of inadequacy in some areas. There are multiple ways people can react to that insecurity; anger, fear, disgust, mocking laughter but all of these are fed from their own insecurity. Their issues. Not yours.”

“Can we just stay in the room tonight?”

She smiled. “Yes. I can order room service if you like.”

Ed’s stomach growled loudly. He looked at her sheepishly. “We missed lunch today,” he murmured.

“A big dinner then an early bedtime,” she smiled.

He nodded so that’s what they did.



Chapter 8

Ed carried the beach bag with their towels and lotion as he followed Rachel down the beach to the waiting boat. They would be ferried out to the catamaran in this smaller boat. The catamaran was moored out in the bay and Ed was excited to get on board. There was supposed to be a large open area at the front where the only surface was a large net you could lie on to see the water below. Rachel made sure they arrived early so they could try to get seats up by that net. It was first come first served. Dale and Tristan were right behind them.

The small boat got them out to the catamaran quickly and they climbed on board. The larger boat was beautiful! They made their way forward and sure enough there was the open net. He grinned back at Rachel and her face lit up with a smile of her own. The ‘net’ turned out to be wide straps so it was comfortable to lie on. Rachel sat down next to Ed and Dale and Tristan on the opposite side. They could slide down and lie flat on the net side by side and there was still room at the far end of the net for two more guests. Ed took the position furthest out so he could feel the spray and the wind. Dale took the other end with the ladies in the middle.

More guests began to arrive and the boat filled quickly. There was a 30 passenger limit and to Ed it felt like double that but Rachel assured him there was probably only 20 other guests. He supposed he was just a little over sensitive.

Just before they got underway a young couple came by and asked if the space on the net next to them was open. Ed nodded and they smiled and got settled. Ed caught a flash of gold out of the corner of his eye and saw the young woman was tying her sandy blond hair back and her ear was now exposed. She had gold rings, lots of them, running up the outer edge of her ears. She noticed his stare and smiled.

“You like my earrings?” she said with a lovely accent he couldn’t place.

“Yes, I’ve never seen so many!” Ed said in awe.

Her smile turned into a pleased grin at his wonder. Ed noticed the boyfriend giving him a hard look so he turned back to face Rachel. He heard the woman say something in another language to the man. She sounded annoyed and the man’s response sounded… mean? It could have just been the language. Then silence.

It was to be a five hour cruise with lunch and snorkeling by an island. They’d have beach time then the cruise back. Ed hoped he hadn’t started an argument and ruined the day for them.

Ed picked up Rachel’s hand and pressed it against his lips. She had been so wonderful with him the night before. He felt so much better. Rachel squirmed as his lips travelled over her knuckles and she finally pulled her hand away and shook her finger at him. He saw her nipples were pressing against the tight cups of her red bikini top. He looked away quickly as he felt a familiar twitch in his bathing suit. Tristan and Dale were smiling at them and Ed smiled back. The young man wasn’t smiling when Ed looked towards the bow. Ed sighed. Nothing he could do about that.

Ed tugged his shirt off and pulled the suntan lotion out of the bag as he tucked the shirt inside. Rachel took the bottle from his hand and squirted some in her palm then handed it back to him. He began rubbing lotion on his chest and stomach while Rachel got his back. He’d already done his face, arms, and legs back in the room. He had to twist his body to face the bow so Rachel could reach his back properly.

Ed tried not to look at the couple before him but there was an almost tangible quality to the man's glare. Looking the other way he saw an appreciative gaze from the woman who was smiling openly at him. She cried out in sudden pain and a string of coarse sounding words flew from her lips at her companion as she rubbed her hip. He'd kicked her?

He looked to the man and he was firing some coarse words back at the woman. He suddenly stood and made his way to the back of the boat pulling a cigarette from a pack.

Ed looked at the woman who was still rubbing her leg. "Are you alright?"

She smiled and shrugged. "Sergo can be a jealous prick sometimes. I am Katrina. Please, call me Kat."

"Hello Kat, I'm Ed. This is Rachel, Tristan, and Dale," he said, making the introductions. Kat nodded to each of them with a smile. They traded hotel names. Ed thought he recalled seeing hers when they were driving around.

"I'm not familiar with your accent. It's very nice," Ed said.

"We're Georgian.” Seeing Ed’s confusion she continued “A country near Turkey on the Black Sea."

"Ah, we're from the States," Ed replied.

Kat smiled. "Yes, I recognized your accent."

Ed looked at her in surprise. "I have an accent?"

Kat began to laugh and the others smiled at his innocence.

"I think you are a very sweet man, Ed from the United States, but I had better go find Sergo. I can leave our bags here?"

Ed nodded to her and she made her way to the back. He slid down until he was fully reclining on the mesh. It was heavenly. Rachel ran her fingers through his hair and he purred with contentment.

He must have fallen asleep as he suddenly jerked awake to the sound of shouting. Sergo and Kat were flaring at each other across the netting. Kat was sitting up on the center beam with her feet on the surface near Ed's shoulders. Sergo was sitting up on the hull across from her. Both were shouting and gesturing at him. Ed got annoyed.

"Hey! People are trying to relax here. Keep it down!"

Sergo gave him a condescending look and rattled off something directed at him.

Ed just looked at him tiredly. "Was that meant to upset or insult me? Or just make you feel brave?"

The look in Sergo's eyes went cold and dangerous. Ed just held his gaze calmly. Eventually Sergo made an odd sucking noise with his teeth, picked up his bag and walked to the back of the boat. Kat looked at Ed nervously. "You shouldn't have questioned his bravery."

Ed looked at Kat. "I wasn't the one hiding behind a language we didn't share."

With a final nervous look Kat grabbed her bag and went to find her boyfriend.

"Americans! Making friends wherever we go!" Dale teased and Ed smiled at him. He relaxed back against the mesh and was soon lulled back to sleep by the waves.

Ed woke once more as the boat anchored near a small reef. It was snorkeling time! Dale and Rachel decided to sit this one out but Ed and Tristan got their equipment. She got a life vest but they didn’t have one large enough to fit around Ed’s torso. He told them he’d come back to the ship when he got tired. They made their way to the steps leading down to the water and got in.

"How's your swimming?" Tristan asked.

"I'm an excellent swimmer in a pool but again, this is another first for me."

"It's a lot rougher in the ocean," she said with a grin.

They got their masks and snorkels in place and followed the other swimmers. Sergo and Kat could be seen ahead of them. Sergo also didn’t have a life vest but he certainly would have fit one. Glancing at each other they veered a little to the side so they didn't get too close to the couple.

Ed was mesmerized by the beauty of the life under the sea. The reef was small but there was so many species of fish and other creatures living on it. It really seemed like an island under the water.

Tristan looked like she was enjoying herself as well. She kept pointing things out to Ed and making squeaky noises in her snorkel. Ed tried his best not to laugh as that flooded his mask.

They followed each other around the reef for thirty minutes and Ed was starting to get really tired. He wasn't exactly a floater with so little body fat.

Suddenly he heard choking and screaming. He lifted his head as did Tristan and they spotted Kat splashing on the surface. No sign of Sergo. Ed cast a quick look at Tristan then dove beneath the surface. He saw the man floating just above the reef. Ed quickly swam to him and dragged him up to the surface. Ed checked and the man wasn't breathing.

He was becoming exhausted but he immediately began pulling Sergo to the boat as that was the only solid surface around. He kicked and pulled for all he was worth and got to the boat's steps quickly. Hands lifted the unconscious man upwards and Ed pulled off his flippers and climbed up after them.

No one seemed to be doing anything so Ed's training kicked in. He concentrated hard and the steps clicked into place. He worked on Sergo as the other guests arrived and a cheer went up as the drowned man began to cough and gasp. Kat and Tristan finally managed to get back on the boat and Kat dropped to her knees next to the coughing man. She was crying and saying something that Ed couldn’t understand.

He flopped onto his back and gasped for air as his exhausted muscles twitched and shook. Rachel knelt next to him and put his head on her soft legs. He smiled up at her. “Hello pretty lady.”

“I didn’t know you were a lifeguard too.”

“Didn’t I mention I got certified when I had that job working at the community pool?” he said weakly.

“Are you ok?” she asked with concern in her voice.

“I’m just exhausted… and hungry!”

“You’re always hungry! Luckily they are about to serve lunch.” Rachel pointed to the back.

“Ah! You’re an angel!” he gasped and sat up.

Sergo was sitting up as well and was looking at Ed with a sour expression. Kat was speaking quietly and rapidly to him in their language. Finally Sergo raised his hand to indicate he’d heard enough. He looked at Ed again.

“Thank you,” was all he said and even that hadn’t come across as very sincere. Kat looked furious again.

‘You’re welcome,” was Ed’s reply. He had no more time or energy for the man. He didn’t wait around for more words as there was food waiting for him.

The staff were delighted he’d been there to save their guest and piled food onto two plates for Ed. They cleared a table for four and Ed’s group got to sit together and enjoy the delicious chicken, fish, rice, salads, and vegetables. There was a huge dessert assortment, mostly cookies.

Ed powered through his lunch and ate a few cookies for dessert. Finally he pushed back and patted his tummy to show its little bulge. He was stuffed! He yawned hugely.

“Oh! Sorry about that,” he said to his friends.

“I think someone needs a snooze.” Rachel said.

“Well I am a little bit tired,” Dale admitted with a straight face. Tristan swatted his arm and Dale chuckled. The group made their way back out to the front of the boat.

Kat and Sergo were back in their spot.

“If you do not mind we would like to share this area with you.” Kat asked.

“Not at all. We were just going to have a nap,” Ed said.

“We will be quiet.” Kat replied picking up Ed’s hint. He smiled and settled himself down.

“Hang on Ed. You have to reapply your lotion after swimming,” Rachel said holding out the bottle. He sighed and took it from her. It took ten minutes to cover all of his exposed skin and that was with Rachel’s assistance. His eyelids were drooping when he was done. Using his rolled up towel as a pillow he laid down on his stomach and was out.

-=-

When he woke once he felt shadows across his body and the boat was moving once more. He was still on his stomach and felt someone soft pressed against his left arm, sharing his warmth. Opening his eyes he was looking through Rachel’s lush red hair. Then he realized he felt someone soft pressed against his right arm. He turned his head and saw sandy blond hair and many, many earrings. Lifting his head he saw the angry eyes of Sergo staring at him from his seated position on the hull. Ed raised an eyebrow in question but Sergo just stood up and walked away carrying his bag.

“Kat.”

She stretched out against him, rubbing down the length of his body. She pulled her head back and blinked. “Oh! Ed! I am sorry. I was just trying to stay warm and you are very warm.”

“That’s OK. Uh, I think Sergo hates me again. He just left if you want to find him.”

“No. I am done with him. I have told him that as well. He showed me what kind of man he is when you saved his life. I will not waste my life on a man like that. When we get back to Georgia I am moving back in with my mother.”

“If you don’t mind me saying it I’m glad to hear that. I know you can do better than him,” Ed sighed.

He felt movement on his left side so he turned his head and looked into beautiful blue eyes. He leaned over and kissed her tenderly making Rachel purr. Her eyes widened when Kat sat up leaning on Ed’s back to steady herself. The breeze was much cooler and sitting on top of the mesh meant the breeze got them from below as well.

Ed looked over Rachel and saw Tristan cuddled up against Dale. They looked so sweet together Ed smiled at them and Rachel looked to see what he was smiling at. She also thought they made a cute couple. Ed caught motion in the corner of his eye and saw they were re-entering the bay they’d left from.

“We’re back,” he said to Rachel. She sat up and tapped Tristin’s foot. The woman blinked her eyes open and stretched against her husband who was awoken by that delightful feeling.

They got their stuff ready. While Ed was over by Dale the older man leaned in beside his ear. “What happened to Kat’s boyfriend?” he whispered.

“She dumped him. She didn’t like the man she saw when he came back.”

“That’s going to make for an awkward remaining few days.” Dale said and Ed’s eyes widened.

“I hadn’t thought of that.”

“The girl seems bright and tough. She’ll land on her feet,” Dale suggested.

Ed nodded but felt somehow responsible.

The small boat began ferrying the passengers back to shore. Kat gave Ed a tight hug and a kiss on the cheek before she joined Sergo on the small craft. Ed got one more glare from Sergo before the boat left.

“Should I have let him drown?” Ed asked no one in particular and Dale chuckled.

Soon it was their turn. They were picked up by their shuttle and went back to the hotel. After getting cleaned up they met for dinner in the main dining hall.

Ed immediately ordered a Piña Colada and was delighted to hear they served them on the beach as well. Dale had booked a small cabana for the following day so they could enjoy the beach in style. Ed wasn’t sure how he felt about that. He might want to lie on his towel in the sand. After all this was another first.

Dinner arrived and they talked and ate until the restaurant began to shut down. As they had all had a long nap they moved over to the bar and continued to talk. Now drinks were involved and Ed was discovering which drinks he really liked. The rest were discovering what a light weight Ed was when it came to drinking. It got away from him and he became very drunk. At 1AM Rachel announced it was time to take Ed to bed. They were all feeling a little happy but Ed was very mellow. She put his arm over her shoulder and guided him out. Tristan had to take his other side, Dale getting the doors.

Ed began to purr from the softness pressing on both sides of his body and something woke up. Tristan noticed first as she was looking down to watch their step on the stairs.

“How is that possible with all the booze in his system?” she commented to Dale.

“Ah, never underestimate the power of the young, male libido!” he quipped and Rachel snorted.

Dale and Tristan left them at the door and Rachel got Ed inside and onto the bed. He tugged her on top of himself and ran his hands down her back. His kiss wasn’t that skilled but he made up for that in passion. Soon Rachel had her dress off and was sliding his hard cock into her mouth. She was already wet but she wanted Ed good and slippery in case he was a little too aggressive. She climbed on top of him and slowly impaled herself on his thick shaft.

“Ooooh Rachel… you feeeeel sooooo gooooood. You’re sooooo sexy!”

She grinned down at his euphoric expression. She felt so sexy and it felt pretty incredible for her too. She wasn’t getting the depth she got when he was driving down into her from above with her legs held back but this was pretty damn good too.

She began to rise up and drop down until she got into a steady pattern. She felt the build-up begin as sparks shot through her.

Ed’s need was a runaway train. He couldn’t take the slow pace Rachel was setting. He reached up and took her large tits in his hands. He squeezed them and tugged on her nipples.

“FUCK! OH FUCK EDWARD!” she wailed as lightning shot between her abused nipples and her pussy. He was being so rough but she was so fucking turned on! She gave in to the pressure on her nipples and lay across his body. His hands were in her hair next and he was kissing her, hard. Ed’s hips began to thrust up on their own, driving his thick cock deep into her. He released her hair and his hands moved to her ass. He squeezed the flesh there, feeling its delicious firmness, and his pounding became more insistent.

“AAAHHH! OH GOD! TAKE ME, EDWARD! TAKE ME!” she yelled as she was swept up in his desperate need.

Ed moved one hand up to squeeze one of Rachel’s incredible tits as his other hand slipped down between her ass cheeks. He rubbed the sensitive flesh between her pussy and her ass and she began to grind herself against his pelvis, moaning constantly.

When he sucked her nipples into his mouth and gently scraped his teeth across the sensitive areola Rachel went into convulsions. Ed resumed his pounding up into her pussy as he was so very close. It only took a dozen or so thrusts for him to reach his release. Rachel was clinging to him making incoherent sounds as her body trembled. He took her head between his big hands and kissed her lips tenderly. She moaned once more and he felt her pussy squeezing down hard on his spent cock.

Ed sagged to the bed and Rachel lay stretched out over his body. She had no energy to move and neither did he. So that’s how they fell asleep.

-=-

Breakfast the next morning found four people with different levels of hangover. Dale was the best off and only had to limit his morning run to three miles.

Next came Tristan who seemed to have excellent rebound capabilities. She’d taken her pain killer and had drunk a huge bottle of water before going to bed the night before.

For Rachel it wasn’t so much the drink as the enthusiastic sex afterwards. She was aching badly though just thinking about the previous evening’s sex sent gentle waves of bliss through her body. As long as she didn’t move. Or put too much pressure on her ass. Or walk too fast. Or touch her nipples. She had to get home again so the other ladies in Ed’s life could share in this and give her a little respite. She allowed herself another trip down recent memory lane and sighed. Tristan watched her with mixed feelings.

Ed. Ed was suffering. He’d forgotten to drink water while he was drinking booze and he was majorly dehydrated. His head was pounding and the thought of food wasn’t sitting well with him. He had a large bottle of cold water in front of him which he was sipping at constantly. Rachel promised him he would feel better by lunchtime. He’d taken painkillers in the room before they marched over to the restaurant. Worse, he saw she was in pain this morning and he had no memory of what they’d done. His recollection ended sometime in the bar the previous night. He’d apologized a number of times but she told him she didn’t regret a second of it and he should let it go. He still felt bad… in that way too.

“It’s a very good thing we didn’t plan anything energetic for today. The beach cabana is ready and waiting. It’s number 3,” Dale said.

The smell of the food in the restaurant was getting to Ed. “If you don’t mind I’m going to head over to the cabana now.”

“Don’t forget to put your lotion on,” Rachel reminded him.

He nodded then winced. He got up gingerly and made his way out of the restaurant.

“Do you think he’ll ever drink again?” Dale grinned.

“Oh yes! He said as much this morning. He will be smarter about it next time though. His words,” Rachel smiled.

That drew a chuckle from the couple.

“What about you? You seem a little shaky this morning,” Dale asked obliviously.

Rachel smiled gently. “Remember his excitement last night? We got a little carried away. Actually more than a little. Having him all to myself has proven to be more than I can handle.” She looked over at two red faces. “Oh my god! Too much information! I can’t believe I just said that! Please forgive me! I’ve just become so comfortable in your company. It already feels like you’re part of my circle of friends.”

Dale and Tristan were secretly delighted that Rachel felt that way but she was right about too much information. Dale was trying to keep the image of Ed and Rachel having sex out of his mind. Tristan was trying to deny the image of Ed making love to her.

They had their breakfast though conversation was rather subdued then went out to the cabana. They found Ed passed out on a lounge chair on his stomach. He’d tried to put lotion on his back but fell asleep trying. Rachel pleaded for Tristan to do it as she was still feeling too sore to lean over Ed’s large body.

Tristan rubbed the lotion on as efficiently as she could and did her best to think of things other than how strong he felt under her hands. Ed woke up and thanked her for finishing the job. She barely resisted the urge to give his butt a spank when she finished. She looked over at Dale who was wearing a grin on his face as he saw his wife’s flustered expression. Amused was he? Tristan gave Ed’s ass a slap after all. “All done,” she said and went to lie down on her own lounge chair avoiding everyone’s shocked looks.

Ed’s ass cheek was smarting from the hard slap and Tristan’s hand was sore for quite some time though she ignored it. He looked over at Rachel who just raised her eyebrows. The four did their best to relax after that.

The wait staff were diligent in ensuring the guests were offered drinks and snacks at reasonable intervals and just before lunch Ed graduated from water to pineapple juice.

When lunch rolled around he was ravenous and practically dragged the group over to the beach bar. He ordered a burger and fries. He insisted to Tristan that she order her own fries this time and she giggled. All was good again.

They were discussing Ed’s drinking strategy for the party cruise the following day when two police officers walked into the Beach Bar and were directed over to their table. Dale recognized them as the two friends of Captain Dan.

“Hello. I’m looking for an Edward Walters,” one of the officers said.

“That’s me,” Ed said.

“I’m Constable Broome and this is Constable Reid. Do you know a Sergo Zoidze?”

“I met a Sergo on a catamaran cruise yesterday but I never got his last name.”

“We understand there was an argument on the trip between you, Miss Katrina Melua, and Mr. Sergo Zoidze.” Broome said.

“They were arguing and I asked them to keep it down and they walked away. Not much of an argument really,” Ed said reasonably.

“Did the witnesses also mention Edward saved Sergo’s life?” Rachel said exasperated. The officers looked at each other.

“No, that was not mentioned. What happened,” Constable Reid asked Ed.

“Tristan and I were snorkeling and we heard Kat, I mean Katrina cry for help. I dove under and pulled Sergo up. He wasn’t breathing. I pulled him to the catamaran and performed CPR on him until he started breathing on his own. I’m surprised you didn’t find any witnesses because it felt like everyone was watching,” Ed explained.

Once more the constables shared a look. “One last question. Where were you between the hours of 10PM and midnight last night.”

“We were all in the bar last night from ten until one in the morning. You can ask Victor the bartender and the waitresses who worked last night,” Dale said and frowned. “What’s this about?”

“Mr. Zoidze died last night. His body was found on the rocks at the base of a small cliff a few kilometers east of here. The fall killed him but it looked like he was in a fight. Miss Melua is also in the hospital. She’s unconscious and has been badly beaten. She was found on the side of the road not far from where Mr. Zoidze’s body was found. They were likely together when the attack occurred.”

“Katrina broke up with Sergo on the boat trip. She was going to move back in with her mother when they flew home. He wasn’t very nice to her. He kicked her.” Ed said with a scowl.

Eyebrows went up and more notes were taken. “So Mr. Zoidze was abusive to Miss Melua?”

“Well… we witnessed one example of this behavior.” Dale asserted.

“Can we go see her?” Ed asked.

“She’s unconscious so today is probably not a good day to do this. We still have to take her statement so it would be better if you gave her a couple of days.” Constable Broome indicated. “Thank you very much for your cooperation.” With nods and smiles the Constables left and headed in the direction of the bar. No doubt looking for the staff who could confirm their alibi.

The table was quiet for a minute.

“I should have let him drown.”

Dale looked sharply at Ed who wasn’t angry as he expected him to be with such a statement but instead he looked deeply distraught.

“Son, there was no way you could have known this would happen. You can’t see into the minds of others and know their intentions. Sergo was obviously a troubled man. She’s free of him now at least.”

“At what cost?” Ed asked.

More silence. Finally Rachel broke it with a suggestion. “How about we go visit her on Friday? That gives her some time to heal and the police time to get her story.”

Ed’s funk lightened considerably as he looked over at Rachel. He nodded. The rest did as well. They finished up their lunch and went back to the cabana.

After relaxing for a bit Ed got fidgety so he decided to go for a walk along the beach. This turned into a jog and lasted for more than an hour. When he finally got back Rachel looked relieved.

“You were gone for quite some time. I was getting worried,” she said.

“Sorry about that. I just needed to burn off some energy. That story about Sergo and Kat really upset me,” he explained.

“Are you feeling better now?” Rachel asked.

“Much better. Thanks! I’m still looking forward to visiting the hospital on Friday.”

Rachel smiled at him. He ran down the beach and into the water to cool off. He swam around and saw Tristan was in the water too. He swam over to her.

“The water is beautiful!” he called out and she started from the daze she had been in. She turned to see it was Ed.

“Yes, it’s very refreshing!”

“I’ve never been on a party boat before. What’s it like?” he asked, thinking about their scheduled activity the next day.

“I don’t know. I’ve never been on one either but it looked fun in the brochure,” she replied.

Ed grinned and bounced to rise over an incoming wave. The ocean really was more interesting on this end of the island. He couldn’t imagine spending time on the still side of the island.

They bobbed in the waves for a little while longer then made their way back up to the cabana. After he dried himself off Rachel directed him to sit at the end of her chair and she put lotion on his back again.

Ed found himself zoning out again. The fresh air, the soft breeze, the sun and heat, and Rachel’s gentle touch combined to lull him into a calm state of Zen. She had to give him a push to get him to move over to his own chair before he flaked out.

When he woke up the others were chatting quietly. Rachel noticed him blinking sleep from his eyes.

“Hey there sleepy head!” she smiled.

“This is the most relaxing place in the world,” he sighed getting chuckles from the others.

“It’s almost dinner time. We were thinking of taking a taxi to a local restaurant for some fresh lobster.” Dale said.

“Sounds good!” Ed replied.

They went back to their rooms and got dressed up nice. Dale called them to indicate they had reservations. Rachel was wearing her sexy gold cocktail dress once more and Ed’s attention was naturally drawn to her beauty. The thought of making love to Ed in her current state wasn’t so appealing. She actually considered changing outfits to tone down his excitement.

“You know I can see that look of fear in your eye and I’m not so dense that I can’t tell you’re in pain,” Ed said quietly.

Rachel froze.

“I would never force myself on you and I don’t have to have sex every night. I do like to appreciate your beauty by looking though, if you don’t mind,” he said quietly.

She felt ashamed. She’d been treating him like a wild beast instead of a reasonable man.

“I’m sorry Edward. Of course I don’t mind you looking. I love you looking. I just can’t keep up with your drive,” she apologized.

“I guess I haven’t been very gentle. I’m truly sorry about that. It’s hard to control myself around you and the booze certainly doesn’t help.”

She moved close and gave him a tender kiss.

“I love you, beautiful lady” he said when she pulled back and tingles went through her body.

“I love you too big man!” she replied huskily. He pressed his lips to her forehead.

They made their way down to the lobby and waited only a few minutes for Tristan and Dale to join them. The taxi ride to the restaurant was very nice as they got to see the nearby hotels lit up. They drove down a small road to stop in front of a lovely restaurant on a small bay. They were shown to a table overlooking the water and spent the first few minutes just absorbing the ambience. It was a magical night as the stars were out and the lack of light pollution allowed them to see them so much better than at home.

The lobster was yet another unique experience for Ed and the others had to show him the proper methods for extracting the meat. Occasionally, the over use of force caused lobster meat to become airborne and giggles issued from the ladies.

“This meal involves too much work!” Ed finally announced.

“But it’s good?” Dale asked with a grin.

“Oh yes, the food is delicious but if it weren’t for this napkin I think I’d be wearing more of my meal than I’m eating,” he said with a wry grin.

Afterwards he checked and he’d spared his clothes from a butter bath. He sighed until he saw the chunk of meat stuck to his knee. He had no idea how it rolled down there.

“Damn! These are my last clean pants,” he grumbled.

“We’ll send them out for cleaning tonight. You’ll have them back for tomorrow night when we get back from the party cruise.” Rachel insisted and Ed smiled at her in thanks.

They took a taxi back to the hotel and made plans to meet for breakfast the following morning.

When they got to the room Rachel found the laundry bag and asked Ed to put all the clothes he wanted washed into it. Ed knew he was almost out of swim trunks so he added those to the bag. Tomorrow morning he’d put on the ones he’d left on the balcony to dry.

They ordered some drinks and once they arrived they sat on the balcony looking up at the stars. The drink went to Ed’s head and he decided to go to bed. He gave Rachel a kiss as she wanted to stay out just a little longer as she was enjoying her wine.

She sighed with happiness. While she wasn’t looking forward to going back to the cold at the end of their trip she wasn’t dreading going home to an empty home or being alone any longer. It was a miracle she never failed to thank the stars above every chance she got. She did her little ritual of thanks then got up to go inside. She noticed a pair of shorts on the floor of the balcony. She picked them up and saw how sandy they were. Boys! She carried them inside.

Ed was already snoring softly so she went to the room’s door and confirmed the laundry bag was still there. She tucked the dirty pair of trunks into the bag then went to bed. Snuggling in next to the big man she was able to fall asleep in less than a minute.

-=-

Ed was becoming very frustrated. He’d had his shower and padded out to the balcony wrapped in only his towel to get his shorts but they weren’t there. He looked over the edge of the balcony at the bushes below thinking maybe the wind blew them off the balcony. Maybe? Nothing.

He went back inside and checked the dresser drawers once more. No shorts. No bathing suits… well, one but he wasn’t wearing that one. He went into the bathroom and checked the hooks behind the door but no suit. He heard movement in the bedroom. Ah! Good, Rachel was up. He went out to ask her.

“Are you done with the bathroom?” she asked him.

“Yes, it’s all yours. Did you see a pair of swim trunks on the balcony last night? I can’t find them.”

She thought for a second. “Oh! Yes, I picked them up off the floor. They were filthy so into the laundry bag they went.”

Ed’s face dropped.

“What- what’s wrong?” Rachel said seeing his expression.

“Those were my last trunks.”

Rachel pulled open his drawer and saw the jammers right on top. “What do you mean? You have these- ohhhh.”

“I’m not wearing those on a party boat with a bunch of strangers!” he said with an annoyed tone.

Rachel looked at him and saw the frustration on his face. “I’m sorry Edward. The shorts on the balcony were very dirty. I had no idea you planned on wearing them.” She thought for a moment. “You could put these on and wrap your towel around your waist like a kilt. That could work.”

“What do I do when I want to go in the water?” he asked.

“Take off the towel and get in the water. No one will see you underwater. Put the towel back on when you get back on the boat.”

He didn’t look convinced but there really was no other choice. He was out of swimsuits.

Grumbling he put on the jammers and Rachel watched in fascination. She hadn’t seen him do this before and hadn’t realized how much effort it took to tuck himself down one of the legs. She was a little flushed when he finished.

“I’mmm- I’m going to go take my shower now,” she mumbled.

Ed pulled on his black singlet and grabbed his shades. He was ready. He sat down to wait. The towel idea wasn’t too bad.

When Rachel was ready they went down for breakfast and met Dale and Tristan who already had a table.

“What’s with the towel? You’ve already been in the water?” Dale asked.

Ed scowled and took his seat. Rachel answered.

“I put the swimsuit Edward was planning on wearing in the laundry last night. All he has left is a very sexy but tight jammer style swimsuit.”

“What’s a ‘jammer style’ suit?” Dale asked. Tristan rolled her eyes.

“Do you recall the shorts professional cyclists wear? That, minus the padding. Skin tight stretchy black fabric.” Rachel smiled, ignoring Ed’s gloomy look. “He looks incredible in them but I understand his hesitance to wear them in front of strangers.”

“I’d loan you a pair of my trunks but they’d be tighter than what you have now and wouldn’t stretch.” Dale offered. Ed smiled weakly and shook his head.

They ate their breakfast and wandered out to the lobby to wait for the shuttle bus. When it finally arrived they heard it coming up the lane. The laughter and singing coming from the bus brought a smile to their faces. It looked like they had a fun bunch of people to party with!

They had to squeeze on as the bus wasn’t very large and already had a group of fifteen from a hotel up the street. The group was comprised of several families from Liverpool, England. There was a good mix of adults from their twenties to their fifties. They made space and the bus got on its way.

Once more the ride to the dock was short and they all piled out. Ed noted that several of the members of the group adopted his method for carrying their towels so he felt a little better about wearing his.

The ship was fairly large and had multiple levels. They made their way on board and found a good spot to sit, not too close to the speakers.

The crew were already handing out the rum punch and Ed decided to wait for a bit as did the rest in his group.

Another group arrived bringing the total up to probably thirty five people, not counting the staff. The music started and the MC began to make announcements about the free booze, the activities, the free booze, lunch, the free booze, and Ed got the hint. The party boat was all about drinking and having a good time! Woo! There would be two snorkeling stops, the second one being the bay where they would anchor the ship. They’d serve lunch at that time and there would be time for sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling. Some guests would be forced to walk the plank and some would swing from a rope. And everyone was expected to drink.

Once they were underway, the music started and people were up dancing. Ed accepted a cup of the rum punch and found it to be delicious! Tristan said she would keep pace with him and the bet was on. Rachel and Dale opted to take a more sedate pace with their drinking.

Soon Ed found himself in a conga line with Tristan right behind him. Rachel and Dale were enjoying seeing their partners make fools of themselves and they were enjoying the punch as well.

The ship arrived at the first snorkeling destination and Ed and Tristan managed to convince Rachel and Dale to join them. The reef was close to the ship so the swimming involved wouldn’t require too much effort. Ed’s eyes went wide when he saw Rachel’s amazing tits squeezed into a life vest. He became quiet and nervous as he’d have to remove his towel and Rachel’s body had started something down below. The crowd was loud and boisterous so no one really seemed to notice when he dropped the towel onto the bench. He kept his flippers in front of himself as he followed Rachel to the stairs down to the water.

Ed swam on his back facing Rachel holding her hands so he could pull her gently out to the reef. They kissed before donning their masks and snorkels drawing some attention from nearby swimmers. Ed didn’t have a vest as once again nothing fit so he had to use more energy to remain on the surface than Rachel did but they remained side by side as they swam around the reef. Ed tugged Rachel back to the ship when they were done and they smiled at each other the entire way. It was so nice spending this time together. Ed felt completely at ease around Rachel.

He helped her back onto the ship and climbed up himself. They went back to the bench and grabbed their towels to dry off. Ed dried his hair and heard some gasps and giggles. He lifted the towel and saw a group of five young women from Liverpool standing huddled together on the deck looking at his swim trunks. While he wanted to immediately hide himself he saw Rachel watching him. He remembered her words that the reactions of others was their own insecurities being expressed.

Ed wouldn’t allow his own insecurities to run his life. He forced himself to return to drying himself without hurrying or missing any areas. When he was done and not a second earlier he wrapped the towel around his waist once more and heard some gentle sighs. His eyes went to the women once more and he saw more than one smiling at him. He nodded and turned to face Rachel and she had a smile as well.

“I’m very proud of you Edward for controlling your fears and maintaining your dignity while being stared at. They were being appreciative if a little blatant about it. You did very well,” she said and Ed felt a wave of warmth spread through his body at her praise.

Fifteen minutes later Tristan and Dale returned. They were waterlogged but grinning from ear to ear. As they dried off they talked about the sea life they’d spotted and the four compared notes.

Ed went to get more rum punch for all of them. It was so good! Once everyone was back on the ship it lifted anchor and headed to the next snorkeling spot. The drinks came around again and Ed smiled at Tristan as he took a cup from the tray. She grinned at him in challenge and took two. Ed snagged a second before the man could move away. Tristan tossed one back gulping the cold, sweet beverage down in a few swallows. She eyed Ed and he could only follow her example.

“These aren’t as strong as the ones we had at the Manager’s Rum Punch Party,” Ed noted as he sipped at the second one.

More dancing began and the MC said they’d be playing games shortly. Sexy games!

Ed looked at Rachel nervously but she raised an eyebrow at him and he nodded as he took a deep breath. Maybe he could remain in the background. He snagged another rum punch as the server passed him and Tristan squeaked in fake outrage. She chased after the server to get one for herself.

The MC began describing the first game. The staff were going to select three female ‘volunteers’ who would each be given a balloon. When the MC yelled ‘Start!’ they would have to inflate the balloon and tie it closed. Then these women would have to find a male ‘volunteer’, who also had to be a stranger, to return to the center of the deck with them to help them pop the balloon between the woman’s backside and the man’s groin. Just an innocent balloon popping party game which just so happened to look like couples having sex. Plenty to get embarrassed about.

The group was hooting and laughing loudly which made the MC and the staff very happy. They liked a rowdy bunch. The bartender’s assistant selected three willing women from different spots on the deck and handed out the balloons. Ed recognised one of the women as one of the five that had been smiling at him earlier. Tall with a hard toned body, obviously fake tits stretching out her flowery bikini top and a number of tattoos. Pink and yellow hair tied back in two pigtails. The second was a little shorter with long black hair and a nice body. The third was shorter still with brunette hair tied back in a single pony tail. She was the plumpest of the three. She was having trouble stopping her embarrassed laughter. She’d had a lot of rum punch. The first two ladies immediately started stretching the balloons to get them ready for inflating.

The MC got the attention of all three women and began a count down. The laughing woman finally began stretching her balloon. At start they began blowing into the balloons and discovered that it wasn’t so easy. The three struggled to get them inflated and the balloons turned out to be long curved shapes as wide as a loaf of sandwich bread and twice as long. The laugher wasn’t making much progress on inflating the balloon as it kept getting away from her. The other two finally got theirs to an inflation they were happy with and quickly tied them off. The two women shot away in opposite directions from each other. The tattooed woman made a bee line for Ed, holding his eye the entire way. He froze as she reached out and took his hand.

“Lose the towel. You can’t pop a balloon with it on,” she said quickly. Ed tugged the towel loose and stepped out of it as he followed the woman out into the middle of the floor. The brunette finally had her balloon tied and looked up at Ed as he stepped out onto the deck. She glanced down and spun off into the crowd looking for a volunteer of her own.

The raven haired woman was back dragging a young fit looking man by the hand. She grinned at the tattooed woman and immediately put the balloon between her ass and her partner. He immediately began pounding away, trying to pop the balloon. Ed saw the top of the balloon between their bodies was just taking up the extra pressure as their bodies slammed together. The crowd was going nuts.

Ed’s partner tried to emulate the raven haired woman’s attempt to pop the balloon. She lodged it deep between her ass cheeks and pulled Ed against her as she pushed back. She looked back at him sexily as she rammed herself back. Ed could see the balloon wasn’t going to pop this way so he wrapped his arms around the woman’s body, one arm resting under her breasts the other running down her body, his hand resting on her thigh. He lifted and pulled her tight against him, her feet lifting from the ground. He drove his hips forward with a powerful thrust and the balloon went off with a loud bang between them.

Ed’s partner squeaked loudly as she clung to his arms and rested her head back on his shoulder. Her jaw was open, her eyes closed, and she was shaking in reaction. As the bulk of the balloon had been trapped between their bodies the part that popped had been in a very intimate place and she was coming down from the surprisingly tingly sting.

He tilted forward slowly to lower her to her feet. Ed tried to move his arms but she clung to him as she floated down from the thrill.

The young man was still driving his groin into the other woman’s balloon oblivious of the game being over.

The plump brunette never returned as she was busy necking with the young man she’d selected.

Ed pulled his arms back as the MC came to congratulate them for the most premature popping of a balloon ever. Ed smiled at the woman who was smiling broadly at him.

“I’m Tracy!” she shouted over the cheering.

“Ed!” he replied.

The MC handed them t-shirts. In large text hers said ‘HE POPPED MY CHERRY ON A PARTY BOAT’ with the company logo under this. In small text below the word ‘CHERRY’ were the words ‘colored balloon’. Similarly his t-shirt had the male counterpart message, ‘I POPPED HER CHERRY ON A PARTY BOAT’, again using the same small text to tame the message.

“Alright winners, put on your t-shirts for picture time,” the man directed.

Ed pulled off his tight singlet and felt hands touching his chest. Once the shirt cleared his head he saw it was Tracy pawing his muscles, her eyes wide with delight. “Bloody hell, you’re built big all over!”

Ed smiled at her timidly then pulled on the new shirt. As expected he stretched it to death which just seemed to make Tracy more excited. She pulled on her shirt then reached under and pulled out her bikini top leaving her naked under the shirt. With the tightness Ed could see… a lot.

“Excellent timing my winners because you both look so hot we’re here to cool you down!” the MC bellowed and two of the staff poured jugs of cold water over their chests.

The white t-shirts immediately became translucent. More embarrassing for her but she didn’t seem to mind as she clung to Ed’s arm while her friends all took pictures of the two of them.

Ed looked over at Rachel and she was smiling at him. He took strength from that and she noticed. She mouthed ‘I love you’ and he did as well.

Then he felt a soft ass pressing back against his groin and turned back to see Tracy posing suggestively for her friends who were shooting pictures in a frenzy as they laughed hysterically. More cameras pointed in their direction as other tourists wanted shots of the sexy woman posing. Some of Tracy’s friends wanted to get into the picture and Ed had to endure another fifteen minutes of posing for photos with the drunk laughing ladies.

The last pose had him carrying Tracy in his arms while two of her less inebriated girlfriends sat at his feet clinging to his legs like he was some kind of mighty conqueror. This brought their faces very close to the bulge in his swimsuit and both couldn’t take their eyes from it.

Tracy looked up at Ed. She’d finally picked up that he was uncomfortable with all the attention but he’d been very patient with them.

“You’ve been a great sport about this Ed. You’re alright!” she said giving him a grin.

While he couldn’t see them past Tracy’s body he could almost feel the breath of the two women panting on his cock. It began to twitch and grow. He looked at Tracy nervously.

“Thank you but I think I’d better stop now.”

“But this feels so good!” Tracy said rubbing herself against his chest. Her nipples were stiff and one was poking into him.

“Maybe a little too good,” he replied.

“Geezus Tracy! He’s growing a third leg down here!” one of her friends crowed.

“Seriously I’m putting you down,” Ed told the woman in his arms. She pouted but she had no choice.

The women at his feet had to move back as Ed swung Tracy’s legs down but she hugged his chest so they ended up chest to chest and face to face.

“Give a girl a little kiss before I go?” the woman asked cheekily, grinding against him.

Just wanting to get away quickly Ed’s mouth found hers and the crowd whooped and cheered. Her tongue slipped into his mouth and he instinctively reacted by kissing her as aggressively. Suddenly coming to his senses, he pulled back with a blush and quickly made his way back to his group. Dale patted his back chuckling at his shy smile and Rachel pulled him into a hug.

“You did very well out there!” she whispered in his ear and he kissed her cheek. Then he quickly wrapped his towel around himself but not before Tristan saw the outcome of all the attention the ladies were giving him. She quickly left with a blush on her cheeks to get more drinks.

Ed looked back to see Tracy fanning her flushed face and wearing a big grin. She was looking back at him and whispering to her friends as they led her back to their group. Giggling erupted as the others looked back as well. Ed smiled and nodded to them. More giggles.

Tristan was back and pushed a cup of the spiked punch into his hand. “You’ve fallen behind by one, Ed.” She gulped down the drink in her hand. “Now two!” she grinned wickedly at him and his eyes lit up at her challenge. He chugged down the punch and reached for the second one she’d brought for him and down that one went as well. Cheers erupted nearby and he saw they had a bit of an audience.

“Maybe you two should slow down just a little. We haven’t even had lunch yet?” Dale suggested. He knew Tristan could hold her liquor but Ed was definitely a lightweight regardless of his size.

Boos erupted around him and Ed was surprised to find himself joining in. Dale grinned and threw up his hands in mock defeat. He rolled his eyes at Rachel who was enjoying Ed’s new relaxed state. Dancing started up again and Ed was tugged out onto the dancefloor by one of Tracy’s friends. Soon the deck was filled with dancing and drunk tourists. The MC looked very happy as the guests were obviously enjoying themselves.

Ed danced over to Rachel and tried to get her to join him but she just smiled and shook her head. He left his towel with her and danced back out to join the waiting ladies. The hoots and cheers just got louder as did the music.

Rachel saw that Tristan was also out in that group and they shared a look and Tristan nodded indicating she was keeping an eye on the big man.

Dale grinned at his wife then turned to Rachel and shouted to be heard. “Maybe we could move to the upper deck where it’s a little quieter?” She nodded so they headed to the ladder up.

There was a lot of bumping and grinding going on out on the deck since Ed had removed his towel. True to her promise Tristan stayed close to Ed and made sure things didn’t get too out of hand for him. The beat of the music was fast so everyone was moving too quickly for too much prolonged body contact. Ed had his eyes closed and he was getting into the music. This settled the worries of some of the young men whose girlfriends were out on the floor dancing with the big man. He wasn’t pawing anyone so he was harmless.

Tracy was back, dancing right in front of Ed and Tristan didn’t see any men looking jealous about her so she seemed to be single. A tray of drinks was making its way past and the young tattooed woman snagged two. She touched Ed’s chest and he opened his eyes to see the offered drink and Tracy’s inviting smile. He returned the smile and accepted the cup. He scanned the group and saw Tristan so he lifted the drink as a challenge. She couldn’t help but grin at his silly expression. She moved out of the group to chase the tray.

Ed sipped at the drink smiling giddily to himself as he saw Tristan scurrying after the departing tray. He suddenly felt a soft body pressing up against him and fall in sync with his motions. He had to slow down a little as his extra height was impossible for Tracy to match. They began to move to the music together, bodies locked together by Tracy’s free arm around his waist. He wrapped his left arm around her body pulling her tighter not realizing she had his left thigh trapped between her legs. She was grinding her bikini covered pussy against his lycra encased erection which was getting harder and larger. Ed’s mind swam with sensation and the booze. It all felt so good.

Tracy’s friends danced in a perimeter around the couple just as Tracy requested they do before she’d made her move.

She couldn’t get over how hot and hard Ed was getting. His thick cock was rubbing and pressing against her clit so deliciously and forcing open her pussy lips until her bikini bottom was saturated with her juices. She struggled not to come too soon.

The music changed and the driving beat became faster. Ed loved this song! He put his drink on a railing and wrapped his other arm around Tracy. He closed his eyes once more to let himself slip into a state where he and the music were one. He immediately began to bounce up on his toes and thump his feet to the beat, oblivious to what this was doing to the woman wrapped in his arms. His leaps and thumps combined with the wiggling of his hips lifted Tracy right off her feet and slammed her clit down against his cock, rubbing roughly against the inside of her pussy lips.

Tracy gasped and cried out as she clung to his chest, the suddenness and intensity of her orgasm obliterating her muscle control. The song went on and Ed kept up the steady leap and thump. She couldn’t talk, she couldn’t move and she was losing her mind! Her face was red with the intensity of the sensations and her grip on Ben’s body was slipping.

Tristan was suddenly at his side, pushing through Tracy’s guard. She saw Tracy’s desperate look, the girl was about to pass out, and pulled a couple of her friends in to support Tracy as Tristan gently pried Ed’s arms from her. Ed was still caught up in the music and pulled his new dance partner in close as Tracy was led away by her wide eyed friends.

As she was taller than Tracy, Tristan didn’t have the trouble of being lifted off her feet but Ed’s body was still pressing hard on all the right places. The song was ending and Ed was coming out of his musical daze.

He opened his eyes and smiled at Tristan. They parted and he assumed the flush on her face was from the dancing. He felt pretty good himself.

“I feel tingly,” he said. He blinked and realized his head was swimming a little.

Tristan led him back to the bench and handed him the towel to wrap around himself. She saw the crew had begun setting up for lunch and breathed a sigh of relief. She needed to get some food into Ed.

The ship gently turned into a small bay and began the process of anchoring just off shore. Lunch was announced and Tristan pushed Ed into line to get some food.

“I’m so hungry!” Ed exclaimed.

Rachel and Dale joined them and she handed Ed a bottle of water.

“Drink this, Ed. All of it.”

“Is it punch rum? Hey! This is water!” he said frowning at the bottle. Rachel frowned at him until he began drinking.

“Wow! He’s more than a little drunk!” Dale said, leaning in to speak with his wife.

She grimaced and Rachel leaned in closer as well.

“That girl Tracy got to Ed on the dancefloor while I was distracted. She… had a little happy time rubbing against Ed while he danced.”

“And Ed was ok?” Rachel asked with surprise.

“I don’t think he even noticed. He was so into the music and so tipsy.” Tristan grinned and Dale joined her shaking his head. Rachel looked at him with concern.

The entered the makeshift galley and loaded up their plates with salads, burgers, and chicken. Ed finished up his bottle of water and carried his heaping plate back out to the seating area. He dug in as the other’s joined him. The food was very good and Ed was enjoying it though he was keeping an eye out for the waiter with the tray of rum punch.

The line of guests waiting for the food passed fairly close to where they were seated. Tristan recognized two of Tracy’s friends, a blond and a redhead, but saw no sign of Tracy. She got up and walked over to speak to them.

“Hi! How is Tracy?”

The young women smiled at her. “I think the big man ruined Tracy for Gary, her boyfriend back home,” said the redhead with a crooked grin.

“Boyfriend?” Tristan blinked.

“Oops!” the blond giggled at her companion.

“Seriously, how is she? She looked a little desperate when we rescued her.” Tristan insisted.

“Rescued her? From the way she’s talking about it we cheated her from experiencing complete and utter nirvana!” the redhead griped.

“So truthfully, is he human or is he a sex robot sent back through time to fuck us to death?” Blondie purred as she eyed Ed hungrily.

“I can think of worse ways to go!” her companion said.

Tristan was feeling a little defensive of Ed. “He’s just a sweet man who’s had too much to drink. Normally he’s far more reserved and shy.”

The girls looked at her incredulously then burst into loud laughter as they moved along to get their food.

Tristan returned to her group and once more leaned in to speak with Dale and Rachel. She confirmed Ed was still focused on his plate.

“Tracy is upset I stopped her from passing out from… too much… fun. Her friends think Ed is a machine sent from the future… to fuck women to death.” Dale snorted and covered his mouth with a napkin to stifle his laughter and Rachel looked like she was actually considering the possibility.

Ed’s eating had slowed down and he was looking a little groggy.

“I think Ed needs a nap.” Rachel said.

“This isn’t that kind of ship.” Dale said looking around at the lively group.

Tristan saw some guests being ferried to the beach where they were laying out on the sand. “Why don’t we take a trip to the beach?”

Once Ed was done eating they made their way to the small boat which took them to the strip of sand. They laid out their towels in a quieter section and Ed nodded off immediately. Dale decided to take the opportunity to catch some sleep as well. Soon all four of them were enjoying the peace of sleeping on the sand.

Ninety minutes later the ship sounded it’s horn indicating all guests needed to re-board the ship. Rachel sat up and saw Ed’s towel but he was nowhere to be seen. Tristan sat up and looked around.

“Where’s Ed?”

Dale was the one who spotted him. “There he is!” he said pointing to the rope swing on the boat.

Ed swung way out over the water and released the rope. He hit the water with a mighty splash and the nearby women shrieked. When he surfaced he was chased by at least three. Tristan saw red hair, blond hair, and pink and yellow hair. Of course. Ed swam for the ship and made it to the ladder but the red haired girl reached up and grabbed the waistband of his swimsuit. Unwilling to lose the suit Ed released the ladder and slipped back into the water. It appeared the price for releasing his suit was a kiss as he gave her one and he was able to climb back up the ladder. The ladies began to swim back out to their positions but were called back by the crew. They turned and raced back to the ladder.

Rachel just rolled her eyes at Tristan who was looking annoyed. “They’re using him!”

“Yes, but look at Ed! He’s not being self-conscious about his swimsuit! That’s huge progress!” Rachel said with a smile.

Dale nodded. “That’s much better than being ashamed!”

The three of them gathered their towels and Ed’s and joined the group of people waiting for a lift back to the ship. They heard the music pick up again and Dale thought he saw Ed out on the dancefloor again.

Once they were on board again Rachel saw where Ed’s courage was coming from. The blond woman was holding a cup of rum punch up to Ed’s lips and he was drinking. The blond had a big grin on her face and wouldn’t take the cup away until it was empty.

Tristan frowned and looked guiltily at Rachel who raised her eyebrow in question.

“I told them Ed only acted like this because he was drunk. Looks like they are keeping him that way.” Tristan admitted.

Ed was back out on the dancefloor between the redhead and the blond. Tracy was doing her best to keep up but her earlier activities must have worn her out. Her other two friends from her group collected her and led her back to their seating area. She looked back at Ed with a pout.

The ship got underway and the MC let them know there were on their way back but there was still plenty of time to dance and the bar was open. The volume increased once more and the dance floor filled up with drunken dancers. Ed was squeezed between the two women who took turns rubbing themselves against his front and back. Rachel could see Ed was beginning to be overwhelmed.

“I think it’s time to rescue Edward,” she said and Tristan was immediately at her side marching out onto the dancefloor. They danced their way over to Ed’s side and slipped between him and the two young women. Rachel saw him relax as her body touched his so she danced him off the dance floor with Tristan at his back much to the annoyance of the blond and the redhead.

They took their seats once more with Ed between them. Rachel examined him and discovered he was completely blitzed. Rachel and Tristan took turns holding him up as the ship made its slow way back to the dock. When they finally arrived Rachel suggested Ed might be safer if they hired a taxi to return them instead of squeezing into the bus with the girls again. Dale let the bus driver know they were finding their own way home. Ed waved at the bus as his new friends called out to him from the windows.

Once it left Dale called for a shuttle from the hotel and they settled in to wait. There were a few families sitting nearby, the mothers nursing their babies openly. Rachel and Tristan smiled at the women and Tristan felt the familiar pain in her heart as she watched the child in its mother’s arms. So fragile and precious. She looked away and smiled a brittle smile at Rachel who was watching her.

“Ed is going to be in a bad way tomorrow.” Tristan said changing the subject quickly.

“I’ll try to get him to drink more water when we get back.” Rachel said.

The shuttle arrived and Tristan immediately leapt to her feet and lifted Ed to his. Rachel shared a look with Dale who was carrying pain of his own in his eyes.

The ride back was quiet. Dale finally broke the silence.

“Is anyone else hungry?”

“I’m famished!” Rachel said.

Tristan just shook her head.

When they arrived Tristan looked to Rachel and Dale. “Why don’t you two have dinner and I’ll take Ed up to his room. I’m just going to go lie down myself. I drank more than I’m used to and my stomach isn’t happy.”

“Are you sure? I could bring you something,” Dale asked.

“No, I’m good. Enjoy dinner! I’ll get the big guy to his room.” She helped Ed to his feet and walked him off the shuttle. Rachel and Dale headed to the dining room and Tristan walked Ed towards his room.

Climbing the stairs took some extra effort as Ed was clinging to her body awkwardly and he was humming happily to himself.

She got the door open and walked him in, closing the door behind her. Ed’s eyes were closed as she marched him into the main room and over to the bed. She pushed him back onto the bed and he flopped down onto the mattress. He continued to hum happily but his eyes were shut.

Tristan stood at the end of the bed looking down at Ed’s shorts. From all the touching he’d done on the way up the stairs he was fully erect and pressing against the inside of his swimsuit. She watched it with tears of frustration in her eyes. She wanted a baby. The chance was right there in front of her.

She made it as far as the door before she stopped and leaned her head against the cool surface. She found herself walking back. She could see the occasional throb inside the tight fabric. His humming had stopped and he was beginning to fade into sleep. She knew she wouldn’t have another chance like this. He was too drunk to remember. She held tight to that.

She knew her body was ready. She tracked her ovulation cycle with an obsessiveness that frightened her. She was at her most fertile state but she knew that didn’t guarantee she would get pregnant.

She reached out and gently ran her fingertips along the bulge in Ed’s shorts. It surged up against her fingers and she gasped. He was large.

Slipping her fingers around the waistband of his swim trunks she stopped again and considered one more time what she was contemplating. A sudden swift rage poured through her mind. Damn the fates that made the love of her life infertile. She loved Dale with everything she was but she needed to feel new life growing inside her. Tears ran down her cheeks.

Tristan peeled Ed’s swimsuit down his legs until she was able to pull it completely off. She saw Ed’s naked cock at last and felt a nervous twitch run through her body. She was going to do this.

She undid her wrap from around her waist and draped it over Ed’s upper chest and over his face. He could breathe through the diaphanous fabric but maybe it would obscure his vision if his eyes opened. She tugged her bikini bottoms off and realized she wasn’t lubricated well enough to take something so large inside her. Tristan spit into her hand and reached out to take his cock in her hand. It was so hot!

Stroking it up and down she gathered more spit in her mouth. She leaned over to spit on her hand and found her mouth opening to accept the fat head of the cock between her lips. More, she thought and descended, taking more of him inside her mouth.

Ed moaned and she froze, coming back to her senses. The thickness of him and the heat was pushing at the back of her throat. She hadn’t intended to do this! She pulled her mouth off and Ed moaned once more. His cock glistened with her spit so she hoped he was wet enough.

Tristan put her knee on the mattress next to his leg and pulled herself up onto the bed over him. She swung her leg over his body and put her foot next to his other hip. She touched herself to prepare the opening and gasped at how sensitive she’d become. She was wet!

Forcing her mind from any thought other than getting his seed she reached down and positioned the head of his cock against her pussy. FUCK! That felt good! She pushed down and the head forced its way in. Fuuuck! He was big like Dale but she was grateful she was used to this thickness. Down she went, slowly taking more and more of Ed’s thickness inside. She made it to the depths Dale reached and still she continued but now it was a struggle. She stopped and just tried to catch her breath. Raising herself up a few inches she took another deep breath and sank down once more.

Ed hummed happily again and Tristan cracked a smile then squeaked as Ed’s hips thrust upwards involuntarily, driving his cock in deep. She held her hand over her mouth as his hips began to roll and rise under her. God that felt so good and he was in so deep!

She slid her left leg back until she was kneeling over his body. Ed began lifting his hands up and she grabbed his wrists and pushed them back down to the mattress. His hips became more demanding, thrusting upwards harder and harder as she clenched her jaw to keep from crying out in bliss. She was going to cum! She needed him to cum soon because she didn’t know how long she could last.

A memory flashed in her mind. Dale and her researching sexual positions for optimum chances at conceiving. She realized they were in one of the worst and panic raced through her. To do all this and fail! NO!

She reclined over his body and pulled on his shoulder. Ed automatically rolled over driving himself even deeper into her. Tristan’s mouth dropped open and she barely contained her cries. A choked gasp came out instead. Ed’s face was still all tangled in her wrap but she could see his eyes were still closed. He began to thrust harder and faster and she heard his breathing increase. It felt so good! She reached down to cling to his ass and he suddenly went into overdrive, pounding her into the mattress. She thought she might have screamed then or at least moaned loudly, she wasn’t sure as she left her body for a moment. When it was over Ed was resting his full weight on her body, pinning her to the bed. His cock was buried to its very limit. She felt the last few jets of cum spraying into her. She could feel the heat of it filling her. Her womb felt like it was bathed in it! So much!

She tried to move but he was so heavy. She moved her hips and felt him twitch in responds. She didn’t want to wake him but she needed out. She got her hands on his hips and pushed down to pull his cock from her and managed to get him halfway out when he snorted and thrust back in. She became frantic and pushed harder and he drove himself in again. Tristan’s eyes grew wide as she realized he wasn’t softening. If anything he felt harder.

Tristan tried using her feet to push at his legs but that just opened her legs wider and he ground against her clit. She clawed his back as she clung to him and he growled deep in his chest.

“Zoe…”

She froze. Zoe? Which one was Zoe again? The one with the convict husband. What did he say about her? FUCK!

Ed pulled back and drove his cock deep into her and growled as he reached up and took a grip on her hair. His other hand slid down her body to squeeze under her ass. Tristan gasped and pushed at his shoulders but she might as well have been trying to move Everest. He began to thrust into her, slapping his pelvis against hers again and again.

Suddenly Tristan realized what Tracy had been experiencing. The almost mechanical, relentless power of Ed’s body. Her mind was threatening to white out and the thrusting just went on and on. She lost count of the times she’d crested and it was too much. The intensity was becoming painful. She felt Ed speed up and his pounding became more aggressive as he reached his orgasm. More cum. A river of it rushing deep inside of her as her own orgasm crashed against her mind.

Then Ed’s finger slipped into the slick ring of her ass taking her up to a new level.

Tristan whited out.

-=-

She felt movement, small pinpoints of pain shot through her lower extremities. She began to cry. “No, no more, please Ed, stop!” she gasped quietly. The room went still then gentle hands pulled at her once more. The enormous weight rolled off of her and she could breathe freely again. Salty tears ran over dried ones on her cheek and she cracked open her eyes. Her vision was blurry at first but two shapes slowly came into focus. Dale and Rachel were looking down at her, a mixture of fear and confusion on their faces. Dale looked like he wanted to kill Ed then his face switched to despair.

Tristan carefully rolled onto her side and moaned as an ache throbbed deep inside her. Dale was kneeling next to the bed and she saw love and concern on his face. She suddenly realized the level of her betrayal to this wonderful man and she collapsed on her side and began to cry in deep sobs. This aggravated her bruised flesh and she moaned in pain.

“I’m going to kill him!” Dale growled out and got to his feet quickly, his entire body shaking with rage. Rachel interposed her body between him and Ed who remained unconscious and oblivious, snoring.

“NO!” Tristan gasped aloud. She struggled to control her grief but her emotions were so raw. The thought was so seductive. She could just let Dale and Rachel believe that Ed, in his drunken state, raped her. It hid her betrayal of Dale but truthfully it just added the betrayal of another innocent man. She couldn’t bear the thought of carrying that compounded sin for the rest of her life. Neither man deserved that.

She reached out a hand and Dale immediately took it in his and she used his strength to pull herself to a seated position. The throbbing flared and she winced. Rachel looked at her sympathetically understanding only too well the pain the woman was experiencing.

Tristan looked over at Ed’s sweet sleeping face and wondered what their baby would look like. She caught her breath as a wave of giddy euphoria washed over her. Her emotions were all over the place. She looked at Dale and the pain of her betrayal slashed across her heart.

“Can- can we go to our room? All of us,” she said glancing over at Rachel.

Dale helped her stand and Rachel got the door as the man helped his wife out of the room. They climbed down to the ground floor and stepped out onto the path leading to the other buildings. Tristan looked up and saw how dark it was.

“Wha- How long? What time is it?” she asked in confusion.

Dale shared a guilty look with Rachel. “It’s past 11PM. We had dinner and lost track of the time. We stopped for a drink in the bar. There was a good band so we listened for a while. Did some dancing. I’m so sor-”

“NO! No, that sounded lovely.” Tristan said then went quiet again as she realized how unworthy she was to have such a man. She began to cry again and Dale held her tighter. This just made her feel worse.

They finally reached their room and they went inside. Dale sat her gingerly on the couch and sat next to her holding her hand. Rachel sat on the chair next to the couch.

“Ed-” she began and choked on the words. She was terrified of losing Dale’s love but she’d already done that hadn’t she. She’d ruined everything.

“He didn’t rape you, did he.” Rachel said gently.

Dale looked at her sharply and Tristan gasped a deep breath of air as the truth was out. He began to growl something but Tristan shook her head. He froze and looked at her in confusion.

“No… he didn’t. He wasn’t even awake,” she whispered.

“What? Why-” Dale gasped.

“The babies. It was the babies we saw the mothers feeding at the beach wasn’t it.” Rachel continued. Tristan looked up and saw the compassion in the woman’s eyes. She nodded.

“Ed… he was passed out on the bed but he was erect. I thought… I thought if I could just… use that, I could get pregnant and have a child.” She turned to Dale feeling a sick sense of dread in her stomach. She was expecting to see hate in his eyes or disgust at her betrayal. She wasn’t ready to see guilt and shame.

Rachel watched the couple struggling to deal with their emotions and the tragic outcome of their inability to communicate. She and her husband had been the same. She hoped she could use her experience to save these two from heading down the same path she did.

“This is why you needed to talk about this. Dale knew you were desperate to have a child but you wouldn’t talk with him about it. You pretended it wasn’t important. You lied.” She turned to Dale. “Tristan knew you were hurting about not being able to give her a child but you wouldn’t talk with her about that. You pretended it wasn’t a big issue. You lied.” She sighed as both of them seemed so lost sitting next to each other. “Neither of you were honest with the other. Now here we are. My marriage turned into a wreckage because we weren’t honest about our expectations and our needs. If we had been we might not have ever gotten married at all and for us that probably would have been the right decision.” Rachel said, looking at the two who now almost looked frightened. Time to sink the hook.

“Do you love Dale?” she asked Tristan. The woman gasped and looked at her in shock.

“YES!” she exclaimed.

“Do you love Tristan?” Rachel asked him.

“Yes!” he said softly, his eyes brimming with tears.

“Then start being honest with each other,” Rachel said. She stood up. “I’m tired. I’m going back to my room. I want to speak with both of you in the morning about the absent victim in this mess. We won’t be down for breakfast until 10:30. I hope to see you both then.”

She let herself out, went back to her room, prepared for bed and slipped under the sheets next to Ed. She had no idea how to break the news to him in the morning.



Chapter 9

Ed woke to a level of pain he’d never experienced before. He moaned and the moan felt like an extra spike driven into his head. He croaked as he throttled the moan. That hurt too.

“Edward, take these pain killers.” Rachel’s soft voice whispered to him. Keeping his eyes closed he felt for the pills and took them from her palm. He dropped them into his mouth and accepted the bottle of water. She helped tilt him up to drink the water and down went the pills.

“Keep drinking the water. All of it,” came the gentle whisper.

He dutifully drank until the bottle ran dry. She let him sink back to the bed.

“Edward, what do you remember about yesterday?”

He scanned his mind and realized he couldn’t remember much. “I don’t- only flashes.”

“What was your last clear memory?”

While his memories of the previous day were scattered he got a sense of time from them and he recalled eating lunch. His stomach rebelled. “Lunch. Nothing after. Nothing that makes sense.”

“OK, I’m going down for breakfast. I’m leaving you another bottle of water. Try to drink it. I’ll return later to check in on you,” she said gently.

“Thank you Rachel. You are so good to me!”

A tender kiss brushed his lips and she was gone.

Ed let himself sink back into the bliss of unconsciousness.

-=-

Rachel walked into the restaurant and saw Dale and Tristan sitting side by side, his hand on hers, fingers intertwined. She sighed with relief. This was a very good sign. She approached the table and they both stood though Tristan was moving pretty slowly.

“Please sit down. Silly people!” she scolded them gently.

“Where is Ed?” Dale asked.

“He just woke up and I gave him some pain killers. He won’t be joining us.” Rachel informed them.

“Does- does he hate me?” Tristan asked quietly.

Rachel looked at the woman and saw the pain in her eyes. She was suffering physically and mentally for her rash decision. “Before we talk about Edward I want to know how you two fared. You’re both here and you’re holding hands. May I assume you cleared the air?”

Dale beamed a wide smile at her. “I can’t thank you enough for cutting through our bullshit last night and making us face the ugly truth. We have been too spooked to be honest with each other and it was poisoning our relationship. I love Tristan more than I ever thought possible. Do I regret her decision from last night? Yes. Do I hold her solely responsible? No. We drove down the road to madness together. I feel better than I have in months.”

Tristan raised his hand to her lips and kissed it. She looked into his eyes with love then turned to Rachel. “In the light of a new day I can’t believe how desperate I was yesterday and how destroyed I felt when I saw how I’d hurt Dale. I thought I’d lost him! I was sure I’d ruined my chance at happiness with one rash decision. The depth of Dale’s love and compassion… I had no idea just how fortunate I was to marry this man! He will be an incredible father!”

Rachel was thrown a little by her last comment. “What are you going to do about making a baby then?” she asked looking at Dale.

“I’ve already done it.” Tristan replied, smiling beatifically. Dale didn’t look as sure.

“You only had sex with Edward once. Without medical intervention the odds of getting pregnant are long. It can take a lot of effort to hit that right combination of timing and strong swimmers.” Rachel said gently.

“I know it sounds crazy to expect so much so soon but my gut is telling me it worked. I’m at a prime ovulation time. I made sure to use a position noted for its success rate and it wasn’t just once.”

Dale looked uncomfortable talking about this and Tristan apologized softly to him.

Rachel was more than a little shocked. Making a rash decision would be having sex once. Going for seconds smacked of premeditation.

Seeing her expression closing Tristan rushed ahead. “The second time was unintentional. He was on top of me and so bloody heavy. I tried pushing him off. The movement… must have felt good to him. He started again. Then he called me ‘Zoe’.”

“Oh my god!” Rachel gasped at Tristan, her eyes widening in shock.

Dale looked at her in surprise. “Ed mentioned her name before. What’s the significance?”

Rachel looked between the two unsure if she should answer as it would be uncomfortable for both. She sighed. Honesty works both ways. “You heard Edward say it himself. He’s confused about his feelings for Zoe. He’s uncomfortable about how he behaves with her. She pushes him well outside his comfort zone.” Rachel smiled sadly as she thought of her friend. “Zoe was always drawn to the wrong kind of men. They fulfilled a need of hers but they were all violent sociopaths. Since I’ve known her she’s been beaten badly several times and almost died twice. She’s been alone for years. Now with Edward, she’s finally found someone safe to express her… particular needs with. He’s normally a very gentle lover but with Zoe… he’s not.”

Tristan closed her eyes as her mind flashed to Ed’s grip on her hair, his breath in her ear, and the relentless pounding of his cock, again and again, deep inside her. His strength was overwhelming. He touched her… there.

She yelped as Dale touched her shoulder to bring her out of her daze.

“I’m s-sorry. My mind… wandered,” she stuttered as her face flushed.

“You know Ed would never have done that- any of it, if he knew it was you.” Rachel said sympathetically.

Dale was a little red faced himself. He cleared his throat. “Which brings us back to the question of Ed. What do we say to him?”

“Nothing.”

“What?” Dale exclaimed and Tristan stared at Rachel.

“Edward doesn’t remember anything from lunchtime on with any clarity. Last night is a complete blur.” Rachel explained.

Dale scowled. “We can’t lie to the man!”

“I’m not asking you to. I’m asking you not to say anything. He’s young and he’s in love with Grace who may want to have children with him one day. I’m asking you not to ruin their joy of having their first child by stealing that relationship milestone from them.” Rachel looked Tristan right in the eye. “If by some miracle you actually do become pregnant from last night he doesn’t need to know.”

Tristan’s guilty look was back. “I spent the day yesterday protecting Ed from those young women who were trying to use him and I ended up using him far worse than they did. How can I not make amends for that?”

“How will clearing your guilty conscience benefit him? You’ll just be adding the burden of responsibility to his shoulders and stealing some happiness from a young couple. Please consider that,” Rachel insisted.

Dale understood and looked at his wife sternly until she nodded meekly.

They caught the attention of the waitress and placed their orders.

“What are we doing today? It’s our last day after all.” Dale asked.

“Ed won’t be in any shape to do anything today. He wanted to visit that woman in the hospital. I’ll call to see if she is still there. Other than that I think we’ll stick around the pool.” Rachel suggested.

“A quiet day would suit me as well.” Tristan admitted.

They ate their breakfast in companionable silence. When they were done they went their separate ways and Rachel returned to the room. Ed was coming out of the shower.

“What did I do yesterday? My penis is sore!” he moaned.

“You did dance quite a bit with a group of five young women. They were taking turns grinding against you pretty hard.” Rachel suggested. Ed nodded but looked at her in dismay.

“I have no memory of that!” he said sadly.

“Listen I was going to call the hospital to see if Miss Melua was still there. Are you up for visiting her?” Rachel asked.

“Yes, I’d like that. Maybe I can get a brain transplant while we’re there. This one hurts too much.” Ed moaned rubbing his temples.

“I guess your ‘drinking strategy’ didn’t work out.” Rachel said with a grin.

“Was… was I having a drinking contest with someone?” he paused.

“Yes and you ‘won’.” Rachel said giving him the air quotes as she said it.

He began to chuckle then moaned as his head throbbed.

“Drink more water!” Rachel scolded him.

“Yes, dear,” he teased.

-=-

The hospital reported that Miss Melua would be checking out later that day so Rachel arranged a cab to take them to visit her.

They were directed to the ward where she was staying and found her with little difficulty.

“Ed! Rachel! What are you doing here?” the bruised woman exclaimed as the two visitors stood at the end of her bed. She fussed with her hair and fretted because she wasn’t wearing make-up. Ed walked up beside the bed and sat on the edge to take her hand in his. His eyes were cataloging all of the injuries he assumed Sergo had inflicted. Her knuckles were cut and bruised from fighting back.

“We heard you were attacked. Was it Sergo?” Ed asked.

Her eyes dropped and she nodded. “I went back to the hotel room but he stopped to get a drink, probably many, then he came to the room and began to call me a whore and worse. I told him to leave but he started hitting me. I escaped from the room but he chased me off the property onto the empty lot next to the hotel. I was running for my life. He caught me and I tried fighting back, I have brothers, but he was stronger and beat me badly. I pushed him with all my strength and he just… disappeared. I was terrified he would come back so I tried to find help. I passed out when I reached the road.”

“If I had let him drown you wouldn’t have been beaten.” Ed apologized.

Her eyes took on a fierce intensity. “NO! You must not think that way. You showed me your true strength when you saved the life of a man who showed you nothing but disrespect. How he treated you afterwards finally opened my eyes to how small a man Sergo was. His heart had no room in it for compassion or humility. I could not live with such a man! I WILL NOT allow myself to be in a relationship with someone like him again. I thank you for that lesson. You are not responsible for his actions.”

Ed smiled at her and shyly looked at her ears. She still had in all the earrings. “They let you keep your earrings in.”

She grinned at him. “You like them, don’t you.”

His eyes lit up. “Yes, they’re very pretty and I’ve never seen so many worn at once. May I touch them?”

She looked at Rachel then back at him curiously. “Touch them? I suppose so.”

Ed lifted his hand and gently slid the pad of one finger along the outer ridge of her ear feeling the smooth metal of the gold rings, one after another, until he reached the bottom. She was clinging to his other hand with her eyes closed, shivering.

“That’s what I thought it would feel like,” he said in wonder.

Kat was a little dazed from the gentleness of his touch and how strange the sensation had been. She’d never run her fingers along the surface of them like that before. It felt… really nice. She finally managed to open her eyes and smile at him.

“When do you go home?” Ed asked.

“Tomorrow.”

“Us too.”

“I would have liked to have gotten to know you better Ed.” Kat said with a sad smile.

“I feel the same. You be careful going home and take care of yourself, ok?” Ed said.

“It was nice meeting you Katrina.” Rachel said.

“You as well.”

“I’ll meet you out front Edward.” Rachel told him and left. He wondered why she’d left so abruptly. He looked back to Kat and saw her watching Rachel’s departure with a smile.

Kat looked back to Ed. “Before you leave, could I have a single kiss to remember you by?”

Ed’s eyebrows went up in surprise. “Oh! Uh, ok.”

He leaned forward and her hands came up to gently touch his face as their lips met. Ed took this for permission to lift his hands to touch her face in return and perhaps those earrings again.

As their lips caressed each other Ed rubbed her ears once more and she moaned into the kiss. She gave his lower lip a little bite at the end of their kiss and he pulled back in surprise. It wasn’t painful. He just hadn’t been expecting it.

“Cats often bite when they are happy and feeling pleasure. It is something to remember me by,” she said looking up into his eyes with an impish smile on her lips.

Ed nodded and smiled at her. “Goodbye Kat. I will remember you.” Her smile lit up her face.

He walked back out to the front where Rachel was waiting for him with a smile on her face as well. She took his arm and they grabbed a cab back to the hotel.

Now that they had their laundry back Ed put on his grey checked board shorts and the black singlet. They headed down to the pool and spotted Dale and Tristan on some lounge chairs under umbrellas. There were two extra lounge chairs next to them which they had reserved in case Rachel and Ed joined them.

Rachel plunked herself down on the chair next to Tristan and related Kat’s story to them. When they were done they looked up at Ed who hadn’t sat down yet. His mind was filled with strange and disjointed images and some of them were disturbing.

Tristan watched Ed’s face nervously. Dale took her hand and that calmed her nerves somewhat.

“I got very drunk yesterday and I can’t really put any of my memories together clearly today so I’m just going to make a blanket apology for anything I might have done or said yesterday that offended anyone. I’m truly sorry for that… whatever it was.”

Tristan had tears in her eyes which she blinked away quickly. Luckily Ed hadn’t noticed her tears behind her sunglasses. Dale felt her trembling though.

“I drank too much as well. I’ll add my own blanket apology. I’m truly sorry as well,” she said and felt a little better when Ed and the others nodded.

“So… you think they serve Piña Coladas at the pool?” Ed wondered aloud with a slightest of smiles on his lips.

He grinned at Rachel’s outraged reaction.



Chapter 10

As Ed drove home from work he couldn’t get over how freaking cold it was when just two days before he’d boarded a plane in sunny, hot Barbados! It wasn’t fair!

He’d spent all of the Sunday recuperating in bed and hiding from the cold to be honest. He’d been spoiled by his little vacation. Having Grace in his bed made up for it though. He’d missed her so much he’d kissed her all over and spent a considerable amount of time bringing her to a state of bliss, multiple times, with his mouth. When he finally eased his cock into her hot, wet depths she’d been very vocal about her pleasure. His cheeks still burned when he thought about the things she’d said.

All that relaxing did have the benefit of making him extra sharp at work though. He’d been excited to get back to work and Mr. Drakos was delighted to keep him very busy. He did promise not to keep him too late every night.

Ed parked his truck and passed Grace’s soon to be replaced clunker and Rachel’s sleek silver sports car on the way into the house. The smell of home cooking caused him to immediately salivate. It smelled like chili! Perfect for a cold winter’s night. Grace popped to her feet and rushed over to give him a hug. He sighed as her lips pressed against his. He would never get tired of kissing her amazing mouth. Or anything else of hers. She pulled him over to the kitchen table but he made a quick stop to kiss Rachel who was standing by the stove. He gave into the temptation to kiss her exposed neck.

“Edward! I’m cooking! You almost made me drop my spoon!” she squealed as tingles rushed up and down her body.

Ed sat where Grace indicated but pulled her onto his lap and wrapped his arms around her. He nuzzled her neck too and she gasped as she struggled to free herself.

“Ed! It’s dinner time!” Grace moaned as his lips did things to her neck that made her want to take him right there on the table. She finally extracted herself and looked at him with a grin. “What’s gotten into you tonight?”

“Nothing. I’m just home with two women I love and… I’m happy,” he answered.

Rachel carried over two plates of chili and rice and went back for her own. “I heard from Dale and Tristan. They’re coming over for dinner to meet the gang next Saturday.” The phone rang on her way by so she picked it up and carried it back to the table before she answered.

“Hello? Oh, hi Carolyn! Thank you! Barbados was amazing! I’d definitely go back. Edward? Hang on.” She handed Ed the handset and turned to her dinner.

“Hi Carolyn. Tonight?” Ed looked to Grace and Rachel. Both nodded to him as neither had plans that required his presence. “Sure. I’m just sitting down to dinner but in an hour? Great! See you then.” He hung up and dug into the delicious meal.

“What’s up?” Grace asked.

“I don’t know. She just asked to see me after dinner,” he replied around a spoonful of chili.

“Edward, don’t talk with your mouth full.” Rachel scolded him gently.

He dipped his head in apology and Grace shared a grin with Rachel. She loved this woman. She was so good to them.

Ed tried his best not to eat too quickly as the food was so good! Too soon it was gone. He withstood the urge to ask for more. During his morning workout he felt absolutely doughy from the soft living he’d done in Barbados.

He tidied up the kitchen and packed the extra chili away for lunches. That done he brushed his teeth and changed into his comfy home clothes and put his old winter jacket on.

The drive to Carolyn’s only took a minute but he was frozen when she let him into her house.

She took his coat and immediately led him into the den at the back of the house. The gas fireplace was ‘roaring’ and the room immediately warmed him. He noticed she’d redecorated the room extensively.

Carolyn had the overhead lights off and the only illumination came from the fireplace and several large candles placed strategically to present a warm and inviting atmosphere. Several artifacts she’d collected during her years in the field were highlighted by the lighting. Ed felt the room’s calm seeping into his body and soul. His eyes were drawn to the art and ceremonial objects and once again he was awestruck by Carolyn’s sense of style and taste. With such items the room might have felt like a museum… like the Rutledge’s mansion at the top of the hill had been. But it didn’t. It felt welcoming.

“The room… it’s really lovely!” he said in wonder as his eyes moved from item to item.

Carolyn’s smile softened and she took in the room as well. “The pieces in this room bring back some really wonderful memories for me. I decided to bring them out of storage and showcase them properly.”

“Thank you for sharing this!” Ed said softly. His eyes completed their journey to find the print above the fireplace. It was a shot of the mandala tattooed on her back. The language of the lost tribe. He felt a little pang of sadness and heard a gentle gasp from Carolyn. He looked and saw she was watching his face.

“Ed, you’re fascinating to observe when you’re absorbing new experiences. Your emotions are right there on the surface. I can see the depth of your emotive connection with what you are concentrating on.” Carolyn said with a smile.

Ed loved Carolyn’s smile as she had a wide mouth and beautiful white teeth. He was almost dazzled when she aimed those smiles at him. She also had an unnerving focus to her eyes. When you spoke to her she concentrated fully on you and you knew there was nothing else in the world taking her attention. You were the center of her world at that moment. And she saw everything!

He was getting a little embarrassed by her attention so he cleared his throat and looked at her. “You asked me to come over because you needed to speak to me. What can I do for you?”

Carolyn looked away, looking a little embarrassed herself. Ed admired the way the blond highlights in her light brown hair gleamed in the candle light. He barely resisted the urge to run his fingers through her hair to see what the light would do then.

“When you came over last time dressed in the Santa suit you really caught me by surprise and I felt so bad that we didn’t respond as you’d expected.”

Ed looked around and listened. “Where are the kids?”

“At Stephanie’s, having a sleep over,” she said.

“The kids do that a lot!” Ed exclaimed with a smile. “It’s great they get along so well!”

Carolyn smiled at his innocent joy. She pulled herself back on track.

“Anyway, I hope we didn’t spoil your holiday season by being so… non-festive?” she winced.

“No, it’s ok. It just surprised me that’s all. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. For me it’s always been about wonder and excitement and sharing that with family. Especially as a kid! How you and Rick chose to raise your kids is entirely your choice and I’m not going to judge you.” Ed snorted at the outrageous thought. “Like I’d have any right to second guess someone as smart as you!”

Carolyn’s eyes twinkled a little as she heard the compliment. Still, she didn’t like hearing Ed put himself down. “You shouldn’t judge yourself so harshly either Ed. I’ve seen the work you do and that takes a significant amount of intelligence.”

“Yeah, but I’m not people smart. I can figure out things but people… that’s hard! There are just… too many hidden pieces,” he said with a frown.

Carolyn hadn’t heard him express it that way before. Ed was fascinating! She would love to write a book on how he perceived the world! She grinned at him and gave him a nod. She saw him bloom under her approving look.

“In the spirit of the season and to show you my appreciation for everything you’ve done for me this year I’d like you to have this. It’s just a little something I saw you needed.” She tugged a little wrapped box out from behind a pillow on the couch. Ed’s jaw dropped and he looked a little worried.

“I haven’t had a chance to do any Christmas shopping!” he moaned.

“Ed! It’s ok! I’m not expecting a gift in return! Don’t think of it as a Christmas gift! You know we don’t do that anyway. This is just a thank you!” She held his hand and handed him the box.

“Should- should I open it now?” he asked.

“Yes!” she grinned.

Ed tore into the paper and soon had the small box open. He folded back the tissue paper and gasped. Inside was a beautiful leather wallet. But the most amazing thing about the wallet was the glass bead mandala sown onto its surface. He looked again and saw it had some elements from the tattoo on her back.

“Oh my god! It’s beautiful!” he said picking it up reverently.

“Ed, it’s just a wallet!” Carolyn said in embarrassment. His appreciation was making her a little overwhelmed with emotion.

“No, it’s not! It’s art! I’ve never owned art before!” he said examining the beads closely, watching how the light passed through them. It was mesmerizing! “Thank you so much!” He pulled her into a bear hug and she lost it. Tears were falling and she was laughing with joy and she didn’t know what to do with herself.

“Hey! Where are these tears from!” he said brushing them away with his thumbs as he held her face tenderly between his hands.

“Oh my god Ed! You’re such a beautiful man!” she cried.

Ed snorted in laughter at her words. “I’m not ugly but I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say I’m beautiful.”

Carolyn laughed and leapt up on his lap to kiss his beautiful face.

Surprised at first Ed returned her kiss and soon her tongue was tasting his. That got Ed going and he slid his hands down her back slowly as he sucked her lower lip between his. She tugged at his shirt and pulled it up to his armpits. She giggled as she couldn’t get it further up his body. She grabbed his arms and struggled to push them upwards. When she began to growl he gave in and lifted his arms. Up went the shirt, over his head. She ran her hands over the muscles of his chest and grinned with delight.

He tugged up on her blouse. “Buttons, Ed! Undo the buttons!” she squeaked.

“Oh!” He blushed and began undoing the eight little buttons that closed her blouse. Once it was open he slid both hands inside and caressed her stomach. He moved his hands upwards and she sighed at the feel of his strength. When his fingers reached the underside of her tits she gasped lightly. He felt the silky smooth fabric encasing her tits so he slid his hands around her back and popped the catch on the strap. He moved his hands over the bra strap and pushed her blouse off her shoulders and down her arm to fall to the couch. When he slid his hands back he pulled the straps of her bra and slipped that off as well. They were facing each other topless and Carolyn bit her lip sexily as she looked into the heat of his gaze.

“You have such beautiful breasts!” Ed said huskily. He was really beginning to tent his pants and the pressure of her sitting on him wasn’t making that easier. First things first though. He cupped her tits in his palms and squeezed them gently. He gently rolled her stiff nipples between his fingers and thumbs as she sighed and cooed.

“Oh Ed, I love your hands on me!” she whimpered as shocks fired between her nipples and her pussy. She reached down and unbuttoned his pants and undid her own as well. She moved back to get off of his lap and he swooped down to suck one of her nipples between his lips. He sucked more of her tit into his mouth as his tongue stroked aggressively across her areola.

“FUCK! OH ED! SHIT YES!” she yelled as she grabbed his head and pulled his mouth tighter against her breast. His tongue began to flick across her nipple.

“OH! FU- NNG! AHH SHI- SHI- SHI- FUUUCK!” she screamed as her abused nipple sent bolts of lightning through her.

He released her tit and blew on the wet, reddened flesh and she gasped and pulled at his hair. He ignored her efforts and moved to her other nipple to lash it with his tongue as well.

“UH! AH- AH- AAUUNNGG! SHIT! FUCKING! GEEZU- FUCK!” She was getting desperate as the pleasure he was giving her was destroying her self-control. She wanted to take him wildly on the floor before the fire but the sensations he was sending through her body was eroding her will to follow through with her plan. She wanted him now! She shook her head wildly to clear it. NO!

“WAIT! Wait! Fuck! Waitwaitwait!” she gasped as she pushed him back. He blinked up at her clearly unable to think straight.

She pushed herself to her feet and wobbled a little. He reached out and caught her, bracing her until she steadied. She gently pulled away and walked over to a trunk. She lifted the lid and pulled out a large fur rug. Ed looked at her in surprise.

“It’s faux fur. Amelia won’t let me have the real thing in the house. It’s as close to a bearskin as I can get,” she said with a shrug.

She shook it open and laid it down on the floor before the fireplace. She held out her hand and Ed stood up in front of her. She knelt and pulled his pants down. He stepped from them. She yanked down his underwear and his thick cock bobbed impatiently before her face. She turned his back towards the fireplace and had him sit then lie down with his head pointing towards the flames. She stood quickly and pulled down her pants and panties, tossing them on the couch.

Smiling at the amazing naked man lying on the fake bearskin rug she felt a rush of primal need course through her. She knelt over Ed’s face and he immediately began kissing his way up her inner thighs. She threw her head back at the teasing kisses then leaned forward and took as much of his cock as she could into her mouth. Ed gasped and she felt the breath tickle her pussy. She bounced her head up and down on his cock, taking as much as she could into her mouth and throat. Ed moaned and suddenly moved his mouth to her wet pussy lips. It was her turn to gasp but she couldn’t with his thickness filling her mouth.

He stroked her pussy with his tongue and flicked her stiff clit causing her to grind her pussy against his mouth until she was beginning to shake uncontrollably.

The orgasm caught her by surprise but luckily it was a small one so it didn’t sap her strength too much. She lifted her head from his cock and pulled her pussy from his mouth. She moved down his body and lined her pussy up with his cock. She wanted to ride him reverse cowgirl as she’d never done that before.

Ed watched in a daze as Carolyn prepared to take him inside her. The firelight painted her back with a lovely orange glow and he saw her large tattoo glow and shimmer in the beautiful light. When she dropped herself slowly over his cock he had to close his eyes as it felt so incredible.

“Oh Carolyn! You feel so wonderful! This is too much!” he moaned.

She smiled over her shoulder at the man. The intensity of what she was feeling was so great she couldn’t speak. She couldn’t tell him how much she loved the feeling of him filling her so completely. How she wanted to feel this way as long as she could. She pushed herself up and his cock slowly pulled from her body. As she reached the head she sank back down and gasped as he filled her once again.

Ed opened his eyes and watched her back in the flickering light. The tattoo rippled as her muscles shifted under her skin. It was truly beautiful! He was feeling a little mesmerized by the overlapping designs. His odd perception of patterns was tugging his mind in strange directions. His hands reached up automatically and he stroked his fingertips over the mandala, feeling how the tattooing process had scarred her otherwise smooth skin. She cooed at the feel of his hands. The raised bumps and ridges tickled his fingertips and he moved his hands around her sides to cup her tits.

“Ahh! Ed, yes! Squeeze my tits in your big hands!” Carolyn gasped. She was getting closer and she loved the feeling of his hands on her body.

He could feel her pussy clamping down on his cock as he filled his hands with her soft flesh. He tugged gently on her nipples and she arched her back as she cried out. The firelight flashed across her back. He squeezed harder and Carolyn gasped and began to drive herself down on his cock, taking him to the base.

“FUCK! AH! CAROLYN! FUCK!” Ed gasped. He was right there! He moved his hands to her hips and began to lift and pull her down on his cock.

“YES! YES! YES! YES! FFFFFFUUUUUUUUCCCCKKKK!” Carolyn cried out as his rough handling pushed her over the top into a powerful orgasm. She gasped as Ed pulled her back over his chest. He wrapped one arm over her tits and moved the other to rub her clit as he drove his cock into her from below.

“AAAAAAAAAAHHHH!” she wailed as her pleasure spiked again, rushing over her senses.

Ed’s release caught him suddenly and he held Carolyn tightly as he jetted stream after stream of cum deep into her body.

They lay on the rug panting, Carolyn’s body twitching through minor aftershocks as his breathing caused a slow pumping of his softening cock in her tingling pussy. Finally she rolled off him to lie on her stomach on the faux fur.

When he’d caught his breath Ed rolled onto his side and watched Carolyn resting. She looked so lovely and peaceful. He suddenly saw her as the most beautiful art in the room, painted by the light of the leaping flames. His heart ached for her beauty. She wasn’t perfectly symmetrical or classically proportioned but her beauty came from a lovely harmony of asymmetry and unique proportions.

He reached over and brushed her hair to the side so he could see the full tattoo. He ran a finger over it once again his mind ‘listening’ to the pattern the bumps made. He began to chuckle.

Carolyn was enjoying the afterglow and the feeling of his finger drawing lines on her back. When he started chuckling she cracked an eyelid to squint up at him. “What’s so funny and you better not say my butt,” she growled playfully.

Ed pushed himself to his knees and kissed her ass cheeks causing her to purr. “No silly. I was just thinking of something funny. Your butt is adorable!” He moved back up and kissed her lips tenderly.

He ran his fingers around the rings of scars on her back. “I can’t get over how strong you are. What it must have been like to endure the pain of getting the tattoo and the scarring. It must have been brutally painful! Yet you came out the other side of that experience with love and compassion for the people who took you through it… I’m sorry, I’m not smart enough to… I don’t have words.” Ed said with awe in his voice.

Carolyn’s eyes welled up with tears. Rick never understood. He was a fellow anthropologist and he never caught the true significance of the trial she’d gone through. Yet here was this young, beautiful man who had no formal education in anthropology and he understood. He took her breath away. She pushed him over onto his back and kissed him, her heart pounding in her chest as her emotions threatened to overwhelm her. She was surprised by the strength of his response. His need for her. Tears of joy ran down her cheeks.

When the kiss ended she tucked her head against his chest and listened to his heart beating strong and fast as hers was. It felt like they were in total sync. She relaxed and his hands went back to stroking her back. She began to doze.

The people loved to sing. Chanting mostly but lovely and rhythmic. They would sing all day accompanying everything they did with their music. It was how she learned to speak their language. In Carolyn’s experience this total integration of music was special to them. Other indigenous people had music but incorporating it into daily communication was something she hadn’t experienced before.

“Daaaah dut dut daaaah dut! Daaaah dut dut daaaah dut!”

Carolyn surfaced from the light sleep with the song of the people in her ears. The words were missing but the notes were there. Her eyes snapped open and she went still.

Ed chuckled quietly to himself again. His finger continued to run along the ridges of her tattoo “Daaaah dut dut daaaah dut daaaah! Daaaah dut dut daaaah dut dut daaaaah!”

Carolyn’s mind was pulled back to the jungles of New Guinea. The people were singing!

“ED! WHAT? HOW ARE YOU-” she cried as she pushed herself up to her knees and stared at him incredulously.

He looked back at her in surprise. “What?”

“How are you singing that song? Where did you hear it?” she pressed.

“What song?”

“THE ONE YOU WERE JUST SINGING!” she cried.

“Oh, uh, I was just pretending the scars on your back were like the grooves in an old record since they’re in rings and my finger was the needle picking up the sounds. I didn’t mean it as an insult or to make the tattoo less significant. I’m sorry.”

She shook her head violently. “What do you mean the scars are done in rings?”

He blinked at her. “I could see it in the firelight. The scars reflect the light more. The pattern jumped out at me. Rings. Rings inside rings. My brain is a little weird about patterns. I see them a lot.”

Carolyn’s mouth was moving but she wasn’t saying anything. The people’s songs were etched into her back all this time and she hadn’t seen them!?! The language was there! She jumped to her feet and ran to her office. She pulled out her good SLR camera and snapped on the wide angle lens. She raced back to Ed who was sitting up looking worried. She handed him the camera.

“Do you think you can take a picture of the rings you saw in the firelight?” she asked.

“I’ve never used this kind of camera before,” he said looking a little nervous about it.

“Just look through here and press this button gently. When the lights inside turn green press the button all the way. Look for the rings and when you see them take the picture,” she instructed breathlessly.

“Ok.”

Carolyn knelt with her back to the flames and Ed peered through the camera at her tattoo. He found if he moved himself a little to the left the scars appeared to lighten up. He pressed the button, saw the green light and click! Got the picture.

Carolyn spun around and pulled the camera from Ed’s grasp. She viewed the image he captured and there it was. Rings. Rings of notes. She sang quietly to herself recalling the words and some of the symbols on her tattoo leapt out at her as words. She shrieked and almost dropped the camera.

Ed was seriously worried now. He hadn’t seen Carolyn this worked up about anything. She was always the calmest one in their group.

“Is everything ok?” he asked cautiously.

She whipped her head around to look at him. “OK? It’s more than OK! Oh my god Ed! You are a gift from heaven! You found it! I can translate the tattoo!”

“What?!?”

“The key to the tattoo! It’s the music! I know the music but I didn’t see it in the tattoo! You don’t know what this means to me!”

“Merry Christmas?” Ed said with a small smile, thinking of the beautiful gift she had gotten for him.

Carolyn looked at him in shock then leapt onto him to kiss all over his face while he laughed. She finished kissing him and looked down at his smiling face with joy in her eyes.

“Seriously Ed, this is the most significant and special gift anyone has ever given me. I can’t express how much I love you for this.”

“I love you too.” Ed said quietly.

She froze. “What? What did you say?”

Ed nervously looked away. He’d blurted out his confession in a moment of weakness. Carolyn was so incredibly smart and scholarly, he was so much in awe of her and he was so simple headed by comparison, his audacity at telling her his true feelings for her made him blush fiercely.

“Ed, did you say you loved me?” she said carefully.

Ed couldn’t speak. He nodded then glanced at her. He looked again as he couldn’t read her expression. Was she happy? Was she angry? Maybe she was embarrassed for him. That one felt more realistic to him.

“It’s ok. You don’t have to say anything. I know I’m not in your leagu- Mmmph!” Ed began then Carolyn was kissing him, hard. She had his face in her hands and her tongue was doing amazing things with his. When she finally pulled back she had a huge grin on her face and happy tears in her eyes.

“Oh, Ed I love you too! You beautiful, silly man! How could you ever get the idea in your head that I wouldn’t feel the same way about you?”

“You’re the beautiful one here! You’re also so much smarter than I’ll ever be!” he gasped.

“Since when is love an intellectual trait!” she smiled at him. Her heart was soaring! He loved her! He thought she was beautiful and smart! She’d received compliments for her intellect by friends and colleagues but she secretly craved compliments for her looks. Her friends were all so beautiful. She felt like the ugly duckling amongst the swans.

But Ed thought she was beautiful!

“Do- do you think you could stay tonight?” she asked.

“Like a sleep over?” he asked with an innocent look.

She looked at him, surprised then caught the impish smile on his lips.

“You tease!” she gasped and he pulled her tight in a hug that warmed her more than any ‘roaring’ gas fireplace ever could. He loved her!



Chapter 11

The next two days of work were busy for Ed as Mr. Drakos had him involved with working with the Klein group on the new development they’d agreed to engage their services for. Ed hadn’t seen Mr. Drakos so happy before and had to endure a few more cheek pinches.

Wednesday night Ed got home at 8PM and walked into the kitchen to find Angie sitting with Rachel and Grace who leapt up to give him his favorite greeting. Head spinning from her wonderful kiss he followed Grace over to the table and gave Rachel and Angie a kiss and sat down with a thump.

“Does that man have you jumping through hoops again?” Rachel asked. She thought Mr. Drakos was a little too demanding on his favorite employee.

“We have another project and the Klein Group is eager to get started.” Ed smiled.

Rachel scowled and Ed smiled at her over protectiveness.

She served dinner which tonight was spaghetti and meat sauce with garlic bread. Ed sighed with rapture at the scent and kissed Rachel’s hand after she placed his plate in front of him.

Between bites they learned the reason for Angie’s visit. She was invited to New York City to accept a special award for her late husband’s contribution to the music industry. Many of the big names from both sides of the mic would be there and it was being held in one of the most elegant venues.

“That’s awesome!” Ed exclaimed.

Angie frowned.

“It isn’t awesome?” he asked.

“No, it is a big honor but Isabelle was supposed to attend and accept the award for her father. She’s come down with the flu so I’ll have to go instead.” Angie lamented.

“Why don’t you want to go?” Grace asked.

“The other members of the band are going to be there. I have- there’s some history between me and one of the other members,” she squirmed.

“Can one of them accept the award for him?” Ed suggested.

Angie’s eyes flared with anger. “Greg would but he’d keep it for himself. He’s always considered himself the most important member of the band. Jealous prick!”

“This is the man you have history with?” Rachel said carefully.

Angie dropped her eyes in shame and nodded.

“Can you tell us what happened?” Rachel continued softly.

The blond shook her head. “Let’s leave it at we were young and stupid, drugs were involved, sexual liberties were taken and my marriage was almost destroyed. But Danny’s love for me was stronger than I deserved and we survived.”

“I’m sorry. I wish there was something I could do.” Ed said.

Angie smiled at him and looked a little embarrassed. “Actually Ed, that was my reason for coming over. I need to attend to make sure this tribute to my husband is accepted properly. I was wondering if you could attend with me as my date. Greg will leave me alone if I have a date.”

“Uh, it sounds like a pretty fancy award show. You sure you want me along?” Ed asked.

“I definitely want you at my side when I have to face that egotistical asshole!” Angie growled. “Someone has to be there to keep me from killing him.”

Ed’s eyes went wide and he reached out to hold Angie’s hand. “You’d go to jail!”

Angie started then looked fondly at Ed. “I’m sorry Ed. I didn’t mean to say I would. He makes me angry enough to feel like killing him but I never would.”

“OK, well… when is this award ceremony?”

“Not until Saturday. We’d fly up Friday night and return Sunday afternoon,” she explained.

“Oh!” Ed looked at Rachel and Grace and both nodded. “I could do that.”

Angie’s face lit up with a smile and she kissed Ed’s hand. He blushed.

“You’re going to miss Dale and Tristan’s visit on Saturday but if you don’t mind I’ll invite them to join us at your place on Christmas day so you can meet them then.” Rachel said and Angie nodded with a smile. They all returned to enjoying the meal.

-=-

As the flight was at 5PM Ed managed to get out of the office by 2PM on Friday as Mr. Drakos felt a little guilty about making him work so many late nights.

A second reason for leaving early was that Grace’s car was ready for pick up. He’d gotten the call first thing in the morning and arranged to meet Grace at the dealership at 2:30PM. The salesman had Ed sign the receipt indicating he’d received the vehicle then handed the keys to Grace. She squealed and leapt into Ed’s arms. She drove the sporty little red car back to school to get back to her next class. She left her old car in the University’s back parking lot as she was donating the clunker to their physics department who planned on blowing it up. For Science, of course.

Ed rushed home, got changed, grabbed the suitcase Rachel packed for him, grabbed Rachel for some hot kisses, then drove to Angie’s to pick her up. She looked beautiful in her long leather winter jacket with fur trim around the hood. Traffic was light so they made it to the airport with time to spare. Angie had booked them first class so they got to wait in a lounge with free drinks and cookies. She exchanged texts with two of the other wives of the band members and asked Ed to pose with her for a photo she wanted to share with them. Angie was all grins when she received the responses to the picture.

Soon they were on the plane and Ed enjoyed the extra wide seat. He refrained from the champagne though. Flying in over the city Ed’s eyes got wider and wider as the city seemed to stretch out to the horizon.

“This city is enormous!” Ed turned to Angie to say. She smiled and nodded.

“It’s easy to get lost in such a big place so stay close,” she teased.

He rolled his eyes with a smile and went back to looking out the window.

As they took a cab to the hotel Angie received a few more text messages from the same ladies she’d sent the picture to. She laughed aloud and turned to Ed. “Would you mind very much if we had company for dinner tonight?”

“Not at all. This is your weekend.” Ed replied.

Angie kissed his cheek and quickly responded to the funny text. “OK, we are going to walk over to visit Times Square after we check in to our hotel. That’s a must see. There’s a restaurant close by where we have reservations for dinner with two of my oldest friends. They’re wives of two of the band members. Their husbands hate each other so they won’t be joining us but Lakshmi and Taj are inseparable and wonderful people. Ed grinned at Angie’s excitement.

Ed caught sight of Times Square as they drove past on their way to the hotel and the lights dazzled him. He was trying not to look like a total country bumpkin for Angie’s sake but she didn’t seem to mind his appreciation of the visual wonders.

They walked into the hotel and Ed was impressed with how modern and clean the design was. They got their room and went upstairs to drop off their bags. Angie assured him he was dressed nice enough for the restaurant they were going to. He looked at the single queen sized bed and back at Angie.

“Hotel rooms were exceptionally difficult to find on short notice. I hope you don’t mind my presumption,” she said with a slight grin.

He stepped closer and she looked up into his eyes. Her gorgeous straight white blond hair framed her lovely face, her silver and crystal chandelier earrings catching the light, and his heart jumped a beat. He dipped his face down to hers and gently took her lower lip between his and caressed it. She moaned and pressed her large breasts against his chest. He moaned as well then she gently pushed him back.

“PHEW! Ok, that answers my question! We should get going if we are going to see the lights and get to the hotel for our reservation on time.” She looked at his mouth again and he saw her battling with her desire to kiss him again. He leaned in and she swayed forward. He turned and headed for the door. He smiled as he heard her chuckling at his teasing.

“Such a tease,” she muttered with a grin when they got into the elevator. As they were alone Ed suddenly turned and took her mouth in a deep kiss, pressing her against the elevator wall with his large body. She squealed then clung to his coat as she returned his kiss. Her nimble tongue was dancing with his and she began to breathe heavily as the kiss went on. Ed pulled back as the elevator slowed and led the dazed woman from the lift. She came to her senses just before they left the lobby and went back into the washroom to reapply her lipstick. Ed wiped his mouth clean with a tissue while he waited. The kiss had his blood pumping but he was also excited about seeing the sights.

Angie returned and wagged a finger at him for being naughty but her eyes were twinkling with happiness.

The walk to Time Square wasn’t very long and soon they were standing in the glow of the massive screens and billboards and so many people! Ed gave up trying to appear cool and sophisticated and just allowed himself to gawk and grin. Angie was enjoying his pure enjoyment but kept an eye on him as well. His attention was obviously elsewhere flagging him as an easy mark.

Once he’d had his fill of the scenery she led him up Broadway to the restaurant. Lakshmi and Taj were already seated and much squealing ensued when they spotted and jumped up to hug Angie. The blond turned to Ed.

“Lakshmi, Taj, I’d like to introduce Ed Walters. Ed this is Lakshmi Dumas and Taj Saxon.”

Both women were stunning! Lakshmi had caramel brown skin, with long wavy ebony hair to her mid-back, slim expressive brows over large, almond shaped hazel eyes and a perpetual smile on her lips. She was the slimmer of the two and wore a gorgeous red and gold sari, multiple gold bangles on her wrists which quietly chimed whenever she moved her expressive hands, and dangling gold earrings that almost reached her shoulders.

Taj had skin the color of rich coffee and a big head of curly black hair that almost reached her shoulders. Three gold hoops, small, medium, and large, hung from each ear but were connected where they met her ear. She was also ‘gifted’ with large breasts and a curvy ass stylishly clothed in a charcoal silk blouse and black leather pants. Her full, sensual lips gleamed from her black lipstick and she wore a grin as she took in Ed’s dazed look.

“You’re love- I- I mean, it’s really lovely… to meet you both!” Ed stumbled with his words.

Lakshmi swept forward and hugged Ed, kissing him on both cheeks catching him by surprise. She squeezed his biceps as she stepped back and raised her eyebrows at Angie with a smile.

Taj was right there before Ed had a chance to recover from the first hug. She squeezed her body against his firmly and Ed thought her body felt a lot like Grace’s, soft and substantial.

Ed was in full blush mode as both ladies stepped back. They gestured to the table and everyone took their seats. The waitress arrived and took their drink order. When Ed asked for a particular brand of scotch smiles appeared on the faces of the ladies.

Angie placed her hand on Ed’s arm and got his attention. “Lakshmi and Taj have been my close friends ever since our teens. Our boyfriends started up this crazy band and we were pulled along for the ride. We bonded over the ups and downs of the career of the band, we were each other’s bridesmaids at our weddings, paced the halls of the hospitals as the other’s had children, and we keep in touch. Lakshmi’s husband is Thierry Dumas, the band’s keyboardist. Taj’s husband is Reg Saxon, the band’s drummer. They don’t see eye to eye.”

Taj’s laugh was a soft cough of sound. “Angie, always the diplomat. Reg and Thierry barely tolerate each other these days. Too much bad blood from the past and both are too stubborn to just let it go!”

Lakshmi was smiling and nodding at Taj. She started and looked sharply at Angie. “You didn’t bump into Jillian at the airport did you?”

Angie’s expression showed her relief. “No, thankfully.”

“Apparently she was waiting for Greg all day at the airport. He missed his flight, no explanation. I got a text from her this afternoon. She wanted to join us for dinner but Greg insisted she wait for him and then he didn’t show.”

Angie struggled to keep her anger off her face. Lakshmi shared a look with Taj. “Sorry Angie. I shouldn’t have mentioned him.”

“No, it’s just that we’ve seen his abusive behavior again and again and Jillian just keeps pretending she doesn’t see it and that it’s ok. The woman is a caricature of an abuse victim at this point.” She sighed. “I’ve tried to help her and you saw how that went. I’m just going to avoid her as best I can this weekend.” Her friends just nodded to her.

The drinks arrived and they asked the waitress for a few more minutes to review the menus.

Ed gasped when he saw the prices in the menu and Angie caught his reaction. She leaned over to whisper in his ear.

“Ed, this weekend is on me. You are doing me a major favor by coming as my date and in the case of Greg, bodyguard. This is the least I can do. Please order whatever you like.”

He felt a little off about letting her pay but he didn’t bring enough cash so he nodded. They couldn’t be eating in expensive places like this for every meal. He was sure he’d get to pay for a meal at some point this weekend.

The waitress returned and they placed their orders. All three ordered one of their signature salads. He was about to do the same when Angie stopped him and pointed to the ribs. “Ed, order the ribs. They make them really well here. You’ll love them!”

He was going to protest but gave in and ordered the ribs. He asked the waitress for an extra order of the sweet potato fries. He knew how Grace snuck food from his plate when he had fries and she ordered a salad.

He took a sip of his scotch and let it slide across his tongue and down his throat. It was good!

“So Ed, how did you meet Angie?” Taj asked, grinning at Angie.

“I serviced her furnace and air conditioner,” he replied with a smile.

Taj began to laugh as she thought he was using a double entendre. She looked at Ed who was looking back curiously and her laugh choked to a halt.

“Tell them what you do Ed.” Angie smiled.

“I work for Drakos Heating and Cooling. I do installations and maintenance for single family dwelling units to industrial and commercial units,” he said with a smile.

“He’s very good at his job.” Angie said with pride patting his arm.

“Seriously? That’s how you met?” Taj asked, surprised.

“What were you expecting?” Angie grinned.

“None of the technicians who show up to do service on our homes look like you, Ed.” Lakshmi said with a smile.

“That’s a very good thing for our marriages!” Taj said.

Ed smiled and ducked his head in embarrassment. Lakshmi and Taj just grinned at Angie who glowed with happiness.

The food arrived and as Ed predicted all three women ended up raiding the basket of sweet potato fries. This did have the beneficial effect of distracting them from eating the fries from his plate.

Angie was right, the ribs were very good and there were a lot of them! He made a bit of a mess of himself so once he was done he excused himself to wash his hands and mouth.

The moment he was out of earshot Lakshmi leaned over the table. “Angie, seriously, are you sleeping with him?”

Taj grinned and leaned forward as well. “Dish girl! You know we’re living vicariously through you! We need details!”

Angie saw Ed step out of sight and smiled mischievously at her friends. “I don’t know… he might not like it if I was indiscreet.”

“Don’t you dare hold out on us!” Taj growled playfully.

“OK, yes, we’re lovers.”

“And?” Lakshmi pushed.

“He’s incredible!” Angie sighed and her friends moaned. “For all his brutish size and strength, he has such a gentle heart and soft touch.”

Lakshmi blinked. “Gentle heart? Are you falling in love with him or is he just a great lay?”

It was Angie’s turn to blink in surprise. “I- I guess I am falling for him.”

“Oh love, that’s not such a good idea. I don’t want you to get hurt.” Taj said to her gently.

Angie’s smile returned. “Ed won’t hurt me. It’s not in him.”

The two friends exchanged looks and shrugged. They knew Angie would not be swayed from her course.

“So, you’re saying he’s good in bed?” Lakshmi got them back on topic.

“Intensely good in bed!” Angie grinned.

“Danny good?” Taj asked having heard so many stories from Angie about her husband’s prowess. She knew this might offend Angie but dammit, she was tired of hearing about how good Danny had been.

Angie bit her lip and felt guilty about what she was about to say. “Better.”

Taj’s eyes went wide. Angie worshipped her husband and for good reason. The man had loved her beyond all measure and had apparently been a master between the sheets, not that Taj had firsthand knowledge. For Angie to say Ed was better?

“Is he big?” Lakshmi grinned wickedly.

Angie looked her straight in the eye. “Ed is very large but better yet he knows how to use it.” She made some discrete hand gestures to indicate his measurements and both women gasped.

“I’m calling bullshit,” Taj announced and Lakshmi giggled.

“I’m not about to ask him to whip it out and slam it down on the table for you two to ogle. Ed is very shy about his… endowment. He took a lot of abuse about it when he was younger and it’s left him a little sensitive on the subject.”

“SHHH! He’s coming!” Lakshmi announced a little too loudly and waved her hands, bangles jangling. Subtlety was not her forte.

When Ed got back to the table all of the ladies were smiling oddly and Taj seemed to be trying to see through his pants. He quickly placed his napkin over his lap and sat down. His eyes glanced over to Angie. He’d seen Lakshmi’s waving.

“Is everything ok?” he asked with concern.

“Everything’s fine, Ed. We were thinking about going out dancing. Would that be ok with you?” Angie said with a smile, changing the subject.

Ed’s face lit up. He recalled the dancing he’d done with Rachel and Tristan in Barbados. “Sure! I love dancing!” he grinned and they all returned his smile.

The waitress appeared once more and Angie asked for the cheque but Taj got to it first and insisted on paying. She looked at Ed with a grin. “That means I get the first dance!”

He smiled nervously at her hungry look. Angie put him at ease by taking his hand in hers. Her diamond ring glittered in the light of the restaurant and his eyes spotted the rings on her friend’s hands too. All three were wearing significantly large stones in their rings. Their husbands must really love them, Ed mused to himself.

They put on their coats and headed outside. Ed shivered as the temperature had dropped dramatically since they’d entered the restaurant. Angie noticed though her coat kept her nice and toasty.

“Ed, we have to get you a better coat! You’re going to freeze to death!” she said.

Lakshmi brightened up. “Ooo! I know exactly the place!”

They flagged down a cab and squeezed into the back seat on both sides of Ed and Lakshmi gave the driver the address. It didn’t take long to get there and Lakshmi paid the driver.

Ed didn’t want to get out of the cab as he’d been so warm pressed between Angie and Taj. Their full breasts had been so soft against him. He’d gotten a little hard in the taxi but it was worth it.

Lakshmi pulled her friends into the shop and the scent of warm leather reached Ed’s nose. He looked around and saw all kinds of different styles of leather jackets. They also had wool and synthetics but the majority was leather.

After a few minutes of browsing Lakshmi hustled over with a black leather duster. There was a lot of hardware on this one, buckles and straps. Ed didn’t know what half of them were for. Maybe it was designed for SWAT team members. “This one has a warm and removable liner and you would look most imposing in it!” she said with an almost maniacal grin. Angie wanted to see him in it so she nodded with a grin. He pulled off his old coat to slip on the duster. It was warmer and heavy!

“Oh my god, Ed! Oh. My. God! Zoe would melt seeing you in this coat! You look so… masculine and dangerous! We must get it!” Angie gushed. Lakshmi was chewing on her lower lip and her eyes were a little dreamy as she stared at Ed.

Taj wandered back with a jacket for herself in her hands. “Wow! You look… delicious!” she said, devouring him with her eyes.

“Don’t you think it’s a little too… busy?” Ed said looking down at himself. He liked it but it wasn’t something he would have picked. Then he saw the price tag. “WHAT? Two thousand dollars?!? That’s almost what I paid for my truck!”

Angie saw her fun with Zoe disappearing. She had to nip his protest in the bud. She stepped up to Ed and placed her hands on his chest, feeling the soft leather over his muscles. She got a little tingly but she pushed that aside as she looked up into his troubled eyes. She poured on the puppy dog eyes. She knew how to get what she wanted.

“Please Ed, I really want to buy the coat for you. You look so incredible in it and it’s so much warmer than your old jacket! Zoe… she’s going to… she’ll be so impressed!” she said with a small pout and pressed her tits against him. Zoe was going to cum in her panties, Angie thought but kept it to herself.

Ed was torn. He was really uncomfortable about someone spending this much money on him. He’d grown up scrimping and saving every penny to put towards essential expenses. Then when Grace lost her education fund to take care of her mother, he’d increased his cost cutting to put money aside for her. His entire wardrobe before he came to live with Rachel maybe cost $200. He was earning good money at his job and was still putting money aside for Grace’s education. Spending on himself seemed… wrong.

“Maybe there’s something less expensive?” he hedged.

“Please Ed! Please!” Angie said quietly, rubbing herself against him. Taj and Lakshmi were watching their friend with knowing grins. While they hadn’t seen it in a long time they recognized the game she’d played with Danny frequently. He’d always caved.

Ed was getting really hard from feeling her body against his and he could tell she was feeling the evidence as her eyelashes had begun to flutter. He was starting to lose focus on anything beyond the heat of their bodies and the delicious friction. He suddenly took her head between his hands and kissed her fiercely. She squeaked in surprise then purred as she kissed him back. His tongue was boldly exploring her mouth and she was trying to suck it deeper.

“Ahem.”

Ed pulled back from Angie’s plump, soft mouth and blinked at the salesman standing next to them a short distance away.

“Are you interested in that coat or might I show you something in a lower price range?” the man said with just a hint of condescension.

Ed was struggling to get blood back up to his brain and blinked again.

“We’ll take it!” Angie gasped clinging to Ed’s chest. Ed scowled but eventually nodded when his eyes went back to Angie’s lips.

Lakshmi and Taj were staring at the couple with barely disguised longing in their eyes. “When was the last time Reg kissed you like that?” Lakshmi whispered to her friend.

Taj shook her head. “Never.”

Lakshmi pouted. “The same can be said of Thierry and me.”

Ed pulled the coat from his shoulders, handed it to the salesman and turned to find his old coat. Taj gasped when she saw the result of Angie’s rubbing and kiss straining against the inside of Ed’s pant leg. Lakshmi grabbed her arm as she saw it as well. They shared a look and looked over to Angie who still appeared a little dazed but was reapplying her lipstick with her compact. Ed pulled a tissue from his pocket and wiped his lips. Lakshmi watched his mouth as Taj made her way to Angie’s side.

“I’m sorry. I take back the ‘bullshit’. We’re so jealous, you bitch!” she said softly to Angie with a grin.

“Thank you.” Angie responded just as softly.

The salesman was looking a little friendlier now that a sale had been confirmed.

“We also need a formal winter coat. A cashmere wool overcoat in a dark charcoal grey or black please.” Angie said to the man who moved away quickly to find the item.

“I don’t need more than one coat!” Ed complained.

“The leather one is wonderful for more casual wear but with the ceremony tomorrow you’ll be wearing your tuxedo. A formal winter coat is required for that. Don’t worry, it won’t be as expensive.”

Ed looked flustered and pulled Angie aside.

“I really appreciate the gesture but spending this kind of money on me is… wrong.”

Angie looked at him in surprise. “Wrong? Why is it wrong?”

“There are more worthy people and purposes to spend your money on. I can make due,” he said quietly.

She was a little worried at his attitude. “Oh Ed, where did you get the idea that you’re not worthy? You are one of the kindest, most generous and loving people I know. If that doesn’t make you worthy of a little appreciation I can’t imagine what else could!” She reached up and placed her palm on his cheek and he leaned into her touch. She gasped a little as her heart ached at his gentle smile of happiness from her touch.

The salesman returned with a gorgeous double breasted black cashmere wool overcoat. He also brought a suit jacket so Ed could properly gauge the overcoat’s fit. The sleeves on the jacket were a little short but the overcoat fit him beautifully. Angie’s eyes were twinkling with joy as she saw how handsome he looked in it. Taj and Lakshmi made appreciative sounds as well.

“I wish Thierry would pay more attention to current fashions. He could look so amazing with an updated wardrobe.” Lakshmi sighed.

“Reg thinks clothes are a waste of money. He’d have worn his track pants to tomorrow’s ceremony if I hadn’t threatened to divorce him if he did.” Taj growled.

Ed smiled then looked at the price tag. His face went grey. $1000 for the overcoat. The two coats would now be worth more than his truck. He looked up at Angie but she looked so happy. Taj and Lakshmi also looked happy and all three were admiring the coat. Angie nodded to the salesman and he nodded back to her. Ed took off the coat and jacket and handed both over to the salesman. Ed began to pull his old coat back on. Angie frowned.

“Ed, I think you should leave that one behind and wear the leather one tonight.”

He sighed and nodded. It really wasn’t warm enough and was definitely due for replacement. The group walked to the cash desk where the salesman was ringing up their purchases. Angie stopped Ed by the rack of gloves and found a pair of black leather gloves that would look good with either jacket. Ed was grateful he didn’t have to get two different pairs. She grabbed a soft scarf which was dark grey with black stripes that would also look nice with either coat.

“He’ll wear the leather jacket, gloves and scarf out,” Angie informed the salesman who nodded politely.

“Shall I dispose of the old coat?” the man suggested. Angie smiled and nodded.

Ed emptied his pockets and handed his coat to the man. It immediately went into a large garbage can behind the cash desk.

While Angie paid for the clothes Ed put on the scarf with Lakshmi’s help. She seemed to think the scarf needed to be flattened against his chest because she kept making small adjustments and running her hands down the fabric over his chest. Finally she pulled back and he slipped the leather duster on. Again, Lakshmi was there to fuss with the buttons and straps to make sure everything was in place. He grew concerned that the coat required this much finessing considering how much the woman was running her hands over it. He pulled on the gloves last and with his black leather boots he made for a very intimidating sight.

Taj stepped forward and popped up the back of his collar to shield him from the wind. “Oh Ed, you look very badass!” Her own winter jacket was black leather as well so they made a very attractive couple.

Angie turned back from the cash desk and saw Ed’s complete outfit and Taj the leather goddess standing beside him.

“OH MY GOD! I have to get a picture of you two!” she gasped with a huge grin. She pulled out her phone and Ed and Taj began to pose like action heroes and super spies. Angie and Lakshmi were in stitches as Taj and Ed looked so serious and dangerous. When he scooped Taj up in his arms she squealed and clung to him but he was stable as a rock and seemed to have no trouble carrying her. She relaxed in his arms and they did a few more poses.

Ed gently set Taj back on her feet and she gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek for being such a good sport. He smiled and ducked his head shyly.

“Now I wish I’d worn leather!” Lakshmi sighed.

Ed grinned at Angie and surprised Lakshmi by scooping her up in his arms as he’d done for Taj. Unlike Taj, Lakshmi immediately cuddled into Ed’s chest.

“Ooo! The red of your coat looks amazing against Ed’s black leather!” Angie said as she took a few more pictures. Ed set Lakshmi down and got a hug and kiss on the cheek from her as well. He nodded to her with another shy smile and the group left the store. Ed carried the bag with his formal winter coat in it.

“We need to find a good club to do some dancing!” Taj exclaimed.

“How about Ten Four Two!” Lakshmi gasped, recalling the piece she’d seen on the latest hot and trendy nightspot.

“We’d never get in!” Angie moaned.

“Are you three not Rock & Roll Goddesses?” Ed asked with a smile.

Taj’s eyes lit up. “That’s right! We are! Let’s go!”

Ed was much warmer in his new coat. He hugged Angie as they watched Taj and Lakshmi try to flag down a cab. “Thank you very much for my new coats. I’m much warmer.”

Angie smiled up at him and gave him a tender but quick kiss on the lips. Any longer and she’d never stop.

They finally managed to get a cab and took a ride across Manhattan. This time it was Lakshmi’s turn to press herself up against Ed’s side. Ed had to put his arms up along the back of the seat to make enough room for everyone in the back seat. The Indian beauty snuggled in beside Ed, seeming to enjoy the tight quarters and the feel of his large, hard body.

They finally reached the club and this time Angie paid as the others left the taxi. Ed helped her out and they made their way to the front of the line where Taj had a few words with the doorman. He smiled and kissed both cheeks gesturing for her to enter. She gestured to the rest to follow her in.

They left their coats with the coat check, Ed’s parcel securely stored inside his jacket. As they made their way into the club they felt the driving beat all the way through their bodies. A hostess wearing an earpiece approached and led them to a reserved table. They sat and looked out over the crowd. It was impossible to talk quietly so Ed had to lean over to speak directly next to Taj’s ear.

“What did you tell the doorman to get us in and get us a reserved table?” he asked.

Taj pulled back and grinned at Ed. Then she leaned forward to speak into his ear. “That’s a Rock & Roll Goddess secret.” She kissed his cheek and stood up. She crooked her finger at Ed and he recalled that he owed her the first dance.

They slipped out onto the dance floor and began to move with the other dancers. Taj was an amazing dancer and Ed had difficulty looking away as she swayed and bounced to the music. From her smile she was enjoying his rapt attention.

Ed wasn’t a great dancer but he did have rhythm and could move his big body to the beat. The dancefloor was busy but not so crowded that Taj needed to press against him as she was. He smiled shyly as he felt her tits rubbing against his chest and her pelvis bumping against his. The beat sped up as the music changed and she had to move back from him to keep up.

They danced through the faster piece then Lakshmi joined them signalling it was her turn. Taj grinned at Ed and made her way back to the table.

Lakshmi smiled at Ed and swirled around him as the music began to change again. The beat slowed and she moved in to sway before him. Ed found her movements to be rather hypnotic and struggled not to stare. Again, his dance partner seemed to be enjoying his attention and her movements became all the more sinuous. Her smile was subtle yet showed her pleasure at mesmerizing him.

When the beat began to change again Ed indicated he needed to take a break so they made their way back to the table. Lakshmi had to stop abruptly to avoid another couple and Ed pressed himself against her back for a moment until she was able to move forward again. He was so embarrassed as he was quite stiff in his pants and that had just been pressed against her ass. They returned to the table and Angie saw his red face. She tugged him down beside her and kissed his cheek. She patted his leg under the table and felt the heat coming from his body. Then she felt the bulge. She turned her eyes to him and he looked sheepish. He moved his mouth close to her ear.

“Sorry, Taj and Lakshmi are really good dancers and I got a little excited,” he apologized.

She kissed him then moved her mouth to his ear. “It’s fine Ed! I know what flirts these girls can be. I would have been shocked if they hadn’t tried to get you excited.”

Drinks arrived and Ed was pleased to see a tumbler of scotch. He sipped at it and smiled as the heat slipped down his throat to his stomach.

The ladies were drinking wine and everyone raised a toast. He couldn’t hear what the toast was for but he joined in all the same.

When he’d finished his drink he went back out on the floor with Angie this time and they danced close for several songs. Ed was really charged up by that point and the scotch had loosened him up a little. They returned and Ed spotted another scotch waiting for him. He drank that then it was back out with Taj who was even more aggressive. The booze lowered his inhibitions so he gave as good as he got and her smile showed how much she appreciated that. Back to the table, another scotch and Lakshmi pulled him to the dancefloor to entrance him once again with her sensual moves. The floor was getting really busy so they were pressed together for most of one song and Lakshmi’s face was getting really flushed. Even through the buzz of his scotch Ed became concerned when she clutched at his chest. He led her back to the table. Angie saw Ed’s concerned expression and Lakshmi’s dazed and confused one and spoke into Taj’s ear. They stood up and gestured that they were leaving. Taj headed to the bar to settle up and the rest went to get their coats.

Out on the street Angie put her arm around Lakshmi and they found a taxi. Taj gave the driver an address and a short time later they were sitting in a private booth of a quaint little restaurant ordering dessert.

Angie sat with Ed across from Lakshmi who was leaning on Taj who had her arm around her friend.

“What happened Shmi?” Angie asked using her pet name for her friend. She held the woman’s hand across the table.

Hazel eyes found hers and Ed saw the love she had for her friend.

“I- I was unfaithful to my husband tonight!” Lakshmi said in a quiet, strained voice.

“What? With who? I didn’t see you leave the dancefloor!” Angie gasped.

The hazel eyes darted to Ed and away guiltily.

“With Ed, on the dancefloor.” Lakshmi whispered.

Ed looked at her incredulously and Angie’s glance at him confirmed for her that he was innocent of any hanky panky with her excited friend. She still needed to get to the bottom of this.

“How…” Taj asked with a confused look on her face. She’d done her fair share of bumping and grinding against the big man on the dancefloor and even she couldn’t think of how they could have had sex without everyone knowing. The thought did take her mind to nice places though.

“I would never ruin a marriage by- by having se- sex with a married woman!” Ed gasped finally. The booze was still making his brain float.

Angie raised her eyebrows questioningly at Lakshmi who blushed furiously.

“I… came!” she hissed.

“Ohhhhh!” Angie and Taj said simultaneously.

“I’ve never had an orgasm without Thierry!” Lakshmi continued.

“What? Never had a little solo play?” Taj asked.

“Solo… OH! NO! I don’t do that!” Lakshmi gasped and looked at Ed in embarrassment.

He thought she was asking him a question. “I don’t do that either,” he said seriously.

Angie and Taj began to laugh and he looked at them curiously.

The desserts arrived and Ed smiled at the hot apple pie and vanilla ice cream on his plate. The others had opted for cheesecake. He dug in and sighed with happiness.

“I’m not so sure if what happened could be equated with cheating. Wouldn’t both participants have to share the same intent? Ed was just dancing.” Angie explained.

Lakshmi looked pensive. “So… just a happy accident?”

Taj giggled. “I like that! I wish I’d had ‘a happy accident’!”

They ate their desserts and decided to call it a night.

Ed kissed Lakshmi’s cheeks and gave her a hug. The woman realized she’d overreacted before as he was just being sweetly affectionate.

Taj kissed him on the lips and laughed at his look of surprise. Angie swatted her shoulder with a grin and after more hugs Taj and Lakshmi grabbed a taxi back to their hotel. Ed and Angie took another taxi back to theirs and made their way upstairs. Both were tired from the dancing, the booze, and the hour so they agreed that sleep was more important than having sex. Besides they had all the next day to enjoy themselves.



Chapter 12

As the limo made it’s way through the streets of New York on its way to the venue for the award ceremony Angie did her best to suppress her nervousness. As these awards were not the ones the mainstream audiences cared about there would be no television crews broadcasting it live. That would happen tomorrow night at a larger venue with more current celebrities in attendance. Tonight’s ceremony would be filmed of course but she had no concerns about that. Her worries were about Greg and how he would act out.

NO! She would not think about that!

To take her mind off of that she looked over at Ed and smiled at how amazing he looked. The tuxedo made him look sophisticated and mature. The new black winter coat over it added to his already impressive size.

For such a large man he had such a gentle touch. This morning she’d surfaced from a blissfully restful and deep sleep to gentle kisses on her face. When he noticed she was waking his kisses moved from her cheeks to her neck and tingles raced up and down her body. He nibbled her earlobes and she sighed. Ed’s lips trailed kisses down her chest and he kissed every surface of her tits without touching her nipples until she was going mad with lust. He sucked a nipple into his mouth as he squeezed the flesh in his fingers. She felt like she might cum right then but his mouth moved on to bring the other nipple to the edge of heaven.

“Ohhh Ed! Such a wonderful way to wake up!” she moaned.

When he made it down to her pelvic bones he was up close and personal with the tattoo she’d had done in her impetuous youth. The large set of red lips on the front of her right hip with a long tongue curling down to just above her clit. He grinned and began to kiss his way along the tattooed tongue. Angie knew where the tattoo ended so she was trembling in anticipation as he got closer. This time he chose not to tease her but gave her what she wanted.

“FFFFUUUUUUUCCCKKKK!” she cried out as Ed’s tongue stroked across her wet pussy lips. He gently nibbled on her clit with his lips as he slid a finger into her depths. Angie clung to his head and pulled him tighter against herself. “OHFUCKOHFUCKOHFUCKOHFUCKOHFUCK!!!” she panted as he added a second finger and pumped them while sucking on her lower lips, flicking her clit with the tip of his tongue.

Ed pulled his fingers out and stroked his cock making it slick with her juices. She was very wet this morning and his chin was almost dripping. He quickly wiped his face and hand with the sheets and climbed up the bed until the head of his cock slapped against Angie’s clit.

“OH!” she squeaked. Ed made a quick adjustment and his cock was sliding into the wonderful heat of her body. “OH ED! YES!”

Ed drove himself deep into her as he knew she could take him down to the base. When their bodies slapped together Angie wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down for a kiss. He rocked back and forth making her chirp and moan into the kiss.

“You feel so good so deep inside me!” she said looking into his eyes. He appeared to be a little dreamy eyed and she smiled at seeing his pleasure so clearly on his face.

Then he began to stroke in and out, slowly at first but increasingly faster and stronger until he was pounding her against the springy mattress.

Angie was in heaven. The pleasure was threatening to obliterate her ability to think. She clung to him and panted as her release raced up at her. She felt his muscles begin to clench and tremble indicating he was close as well. Suddenly his hips went to double speed and it was too much.

Angie screamed as her orgasm exploded through her senses and her legs wrapped around Ed’s hips to hold him against her as tightly as she could as her body shook and trembled. He was so fucking deep, filling her with his cum. She loved that feeling!

“Angie! That’s so good! You’re so incredibly beautiful!” he breathed as his own orgasm washed over his mind. He kissed her hard and she felt herself lifting free of her senses for a moment then every tingle and spark came crashing back to remind her of the bliss she was floating in. She held Ed’s body against her and basked in the afterglow of their lovemaking.

It took a good ten minutes for her to return to the here and now. Ed was resting on his side next to her, gazing at her with a sweet smile on his lips.

“What?” she asked looking over at him.

“Nothing. I was just lying here thinking how lucky I am to be here with you!”

She smiled and he returned it. He leaned over and tenderly kissed her. She felt new sparks firing through her nerves and pulled back with her head spinning.

“Oh my god Ed! You’re such a great kisser!” she sighed.

“Only because your lips are so amazing to kiss!” he sighed.

She grinned at him and they got out of bed to walk into the large bathroom. The shower would accommodate both of them so they showered together. They didn’t make love again but they did share a long, passionate kiss. Ed washed her hair, massaging her scalp during the rinsing out of the shampoo and conditioner. Toweling dry was an excuse to touch each other’s bodies but again they held back. It was enough to just enjoy the intimacy.

They’d had a leisurely breakfast in the room sitting at the little table by the window and Angie had pointed out landmarks they could see.

Once they finished, they went out to visit Rockefeller Centre to see the huge Christmas tree and the ice skating, visited Macy’s, took a carriage ride through Central Park, and managed to get in a little shopping in Soho before they had to return to the hotel to get ready for the ceremony.

Angie came back from her memories as the limo pulled up before the red carpet.

Ed recalled Rachel’s excitement when they walked up the red carpet at the gala dinner at home. Angie didn’t look as excited. He got out the moment they stopped and walked around to open Angie’s door. He noticed there was a group of paparazzo behind a security barrier but they looked cold. He helped the lovely blond out of the limo and the flashes started popping. Ed offered his arm and Angie smiled at him demurely as she walked up the carpet to the door. She handed the doorman a card and they went inside.

After they checked their coats Ed and Angie walked into the salon and she accepted some champagne. Ed decided he’d stick with water this evening as he wanted to stay sharp to protect Angie from this Greg guy. He could feel Angie’s hand trembling a little on his arm so he stopped and turned to face her.

Troubled eyes looked up into his.

“I won’t let him near you and if he tries anything stupid trust me that he will regret it. I’m not going to do something stupid like get into a fight with him but I will deal with him. I’m here for you.” Ed said firmly, holding her eyes with his.

Angie visibly relaxed and her smile spread across her lovely lips. Ed gasped at the sudden flash of her beauty and her eyes twinkled with joy at his look of awe.

“Angie!”

They turned to see Taj and Lakshmi approaching with two stern looking men following in their wake. Ed took in their sour expressions and guessed these must be the husbands that chose not to join them the night before.

Reg Saxon was a big man. The drummer was not a tall man but he’d been muscular once. His body was wide and thick and his arms still looked powerful. His receding grey hair was cropped close to his scalp and his mustache and beard looked like it had just recently been groomed into submission. His black rental tux was ill fitting and he tugged at the collar unconsciously. Taj’s red leather dress popped against his wall of black.

Theirry Dumas was the polar opposite of Reg. Tall and almost skeletally thin, the keyboardist had long flowing grey hair to mid-shoulder and a clean shaven face. His hands had strong looking, long fingers which made sense to Ed considering his choice of instruments. He’d chosen to wear a deep violet intricately patterned silk Nehru jacket with black silk pants to compliment his wife’s lovely hot pink sari.

Angie grinned and hugs and kisses were exchanged. He saw both men soften and lighten up as Angie kissed their cheeks. There was obviously some affection for the blond in both men and for a time their animosity towards each other took a back seat.

Ed shook Thierry’s hand and barely managed to get his hand back intact when he shook Reg’s. He grinned at the mischievous look on the shorter man’s face and scored some points with the drummer.

“What a pathetic group of misfits this is!” boomed a voice from behind them. The group turned and looked at the grinning speaker. Tall, maybe two inches shorter than Ed, dyed jet black hair to his shoulders on the side but tied back in a man bun on the back. Broad shoulders but soft in the middle, his tuxedo looked a little rumpled like it had just been carelessly and quickly pulled on. The collar was open and there was a streak of pink against the white.

Ed noticed the woman standing behind him. Her eyes looked a little glassy and her face was flushed. Her lovely violet and black striped dress was crisp and tidy and her dark plum lipstick didn’t match the pink on the collar.

“Hey Greg.” Reg said without much enthusiasm.

“Hello Jillian.” Angie said, ignoring Greg.

“Hey! Where’s the love? Where’s my hug and kiss, Angie?” Greg’s voice was a little too loud for the space and eyes were turning in their direction. Greg surged towards Angie with a leering grin on his cruel lips.

Ed felt Angie’s fingers dig into his right arm as his left came up and planted his palm on Greg’s chest with the force of a battering ram. Greg staggered back and looked incredulously at Ed. His rage built quickly.

“Who the fuck are you to touch me?” he bellowed.

“Angie doesn’t wish to ‘hug’ or ‘kiss’ you. You will keep your distance tonight.” Ed said calmly looking the man in the eye. He could smell the booze on Greg’s breath. That wasn’t a good sign.

Jillian gripped Greg’s arm to pull him back. Greg yanked his arm away from her. “Let go of me you stupid cunt!” The woman shrank back from him. He turned to look at Ed. “This isn’t over junior. I’ll be seeing you around.” Greg leered once more at Angie and headed for the bar at the far side of the salon. Jillian immediately followed him into the crowd.

“He’s such a prick.” Reg grunted.

“Then why the FUCK didn’t you say that to his face and move to protect Angie yourself?” Taj growled. Reg looked at her in surprise then a guilty look flashed over his face. He glanced at Thierry who also looked guilty. Both looked away. “I thought so. All words and no action.” Taj stormed off with Lakshmi and Angie in tow towards the bar at the opposite end of the salon. This left Ed with the two men.

There was an uncomfortable silence. Ed needed help understanding if he was going to protect Angie. He looked at the two men. “If you don’t mind, could you tell me why Greg is so fixated on Angie?” Ed asked. Their guilty looks just got worse. It was Thierry who finally managed to break past that.

“Greg and Danny were rivals for Angie when the group was just starting out. We were all so young and stupid then. Greg brought Angie to a party and Danny wooed her right out of his hands. It was love at first sight for Danny. For Greg, she was just another conquest. Angie picked that up pretty quickly so Danny won but Greg holds grudges. He said he would have her. We became famous, we let it all go to our heads and we got into the drug scene pretty bad. It was years after that first party on a night Danny was out of town and we decided to have a little fun. Reg and I were the ones who convinced Angie to join us. Truth is, we all loved Angie as she was the heart of the band. Danny was the brains but Angie kept us all together.” Thierry paused and Reg struggled to swallow.

“Greg spiked our drugs. The ladies worse than us. He raped Angie while she was unconscious. We did nothing as we were stoned as well but we saw it and did nothing. He threatened to do it to our wives if we said anything. I’ve never been so ashamed of myself but Greg scares the piss out of me. Always has. He’s dangerous in that ‘I don’t give a shit’ psychopathic way. Scary as fuck! He’s also a mean drunk and he never gives up. He wasn’t satisfied with his conquest as she wasn’t conscious but Danny never forgave him or gave him another chance at her. He was the only one who protected her. The band broke up after that.”

Ed was stunned. “The strength it must have taken for Angie to come here and face him… She’s incredible!” He immediately left to be at her side. Greg would not get near her again.

Thierry shared a look with Reg. “She’s shown more strength than either of us.”

Reg nodded. The shame had become too much to carry any longer. “We need to apologize. About everything. To Angie and our wives.”

Thierry nodded and the two men followed Ed into the crowd.

-=-

Greg slammed back his drink and watched the two cowards follow the big kid towards the other end of the salon. He followed at a distance knowing the annoying little bitch was still behind him. Why he’d married her eluded his mind. Nag nag nag. At least she stayed out of his way when he wanted to have a little fun like that young server he’d fucked in the storage room.

They’d made it all the way up to the bar area and there was his target. God damn it if she didn’t look even more beautiful than she had when he’d fucked her. He wanted to fuck her again but this time she’d be looking up into his eyes and calling his name as he blew his load into her and choked her out. Taj and Lakshmi looked pretty good too but Angie… fuck she was a sweet piece.

He just had to get her alone. The kid she had with her was a solid fucker. His pole arm to the chest really hurt.

Greg patted his pocket ensuring the blade was still there. A quick punch to the kidneys with the knife and junior would be out of the picture. He wouldn’t have any trouble with the cowards but the ladies would be noisy. He’d have to wait until Angie and the boy were separated.

“Greg?”

He sighed. Fuck.

“What is it now?”

“Maybe- maybe we should just go. Go home I mean.” Jillian whined.

“Why the FUCK would I want to do that?” he growled as he glared at her.

“I- I could do that thing you like,” she said timidly.

“For fuck’s sake. You can’t even say it. Anal. You’re so useless. Why don’t you do something helpful for once and try to draw Angie away from the others so I can talk with her,” he sighed.

She nodded at him with big eyes and rushed forward. “Good little cunt,” he chuckled to himself.

-=-

Thierry and Reg were each holding one of Angie’s hands and were speaking quietly with her. Angie was smiling and she had tears in her eyes. She suddenly pulled the two men forward and hugged them. Taj and Lakshmi were also looking like they needed to cry. Once Angie released them their wives immediately rushed forward and hugged them. The big one was handing Angie a tissue which she used to dab her eyes. It looked like the perfect opportunity to speak with Angie. Jillian moved forward.

“Angie? Could- could I speak with you?” Jillian asked timidly.

“Sure.” Angie said and turned to face her. The big man faced her as well.

“Uh, could we speak alone- in private,” she stumbled over the words.

“No, not until you’ve broken free from Greg’s control.” Angie said firmly.

Jillian flew into a rage as she always did when others spoke ill of Greg. “You don’t know what you’re talking about! Greg doesn’t control anyone! He’s not like that! How can you be so mean?”

“This is what I was talking about Ed. She’s become his puppet.” Angie said sadly to the big man, Ed.

Ed looked at Jillian. “If you want to talk I’ll talk with you.”

“Greg doesn’t want to speak with you,” she barked.

“I thought you said you wanted to speak with Angie. Were you just going to bring her to him?” Ed asked.

Jillian saw she’d fucked up. Greg was going to be so angry with her. Her face dropped. She looked at the sympathetic but sad look on Angie’s face.

Angie turned and looked towards the washrooms. She looked at Ed and patted his arm. “I have to use the ladies room while it’s still empty.” He nodded and they left.

Jillian was trembling. She couldn’t go back to Greg empty handed. She turned and rushed back to where he was waiting.

Greg was looking at her in disgust. “You couldn’t even do that one small thing.”

Jillian squirmed under his scorn. “She’s gone to the ladies room. It’s empty. I can draw Ed away as he said he would talk to me. That leaves Angie alone.”

Greg jolted in surprise. She’d come through. He smiled at her and Jillian felt the world spinning off its axis. He was happy with her! She basked in that glow until he gestured for her to move. She quickly headed for the ladies room to draw Ed away for Greg and he followed at a distance.

She saw Ed standing by the entrance. She began to cry and walked up to him. “You said you’d talk with me?” she whimpered.

Ed saw her tears and wondered what Greg had done to her. “Are you ok?” he asked with concern.

She saw it was working so she closed her eyes and shook her head like she was really upset. She took a step then two, slowly moving away from the entrance and her shoulders shook like she was really crying. Ed went to check on her.

-=-

Greg smiled to himself. Jillian was really outdoing herself with the tears. He’d have to do something nice for her… later. He slipped past the big guy and listened to the noises from the washroom. It was really quiet. He’d never have another chance like this. He slipped inside and walked briskly down the hallway. He pulled the knife from his pocket and flicked it open. Stepping around the corner he saw Angie standing by the sinks with a smile on her face. Standing right in front of her was a female police officer. Spotting the knife the cop went for her gun. Greg spun and ran for the exit. As he shot out of the hall into the salon he ran straight into Ed’s outstretched arm which clotheslined him across the neck.

His feet went out from under him and he went down on his back, hard, slamming his head against the floor. The cop burst from the hall with her gun drawn and saw Greg on the floor, dazed. She radioed for backup and glanced at Ed. He smiled at her and bent down to flip Greg onto his stomach. The officer put the cuffs on him as her backup arrived. Ed stood up and walked over to Angie who was standing by the entrance of the ladies room.

Ed smiled at Angie who actually looked more relaxed than she had all night. “How did you know he’d do that?”

Angie smiled at him. “It’s how his sick mind works. He’s a predator. When I saw the police woman standing outside the entrance of the ladies room I knew I could catch him because I knew Jillian would tell him where I went. As I wasn’t drugged this time he’d have to have a weapon on him. Where’s Jillian?”

Ed was still looking at Angie in awe. She was incredible! “Oh! Uh, when I went back to the doorway she shrieked and ran off.”

The officer who’d cuffed Greg came over to speak with Angie as her partners took the groggy prisoner with them.

Ed went to stand with the others.

“Where did you learn to take someone down like that?” Reg asked Ed with a big grin on his face.

“I played football in high school. Our quarterback taught me that move. It’s a nasty tackle but it seemed appropriate to use it here.” Ed confessed.

Reg and Thierry chuckled and nodded approvingly.

-=-

Jillian was completely lost. Everything had gone wrong! Ed didn’t stay away from the hallway for more than a few seconds to listen to her pretend to cry and when he left her to go back to the hallway she panicked. Greg would be caught in the women’s washroom. When she got her wits back she returned to see the police leading him towards the front door. She ran to the coat check and got their coats. Inside an inner hidden pocket in Greg’s jacket was a small handgun. She could still save him. She hustled outside and saw the police walking him down a service lane towards a police cruiser. She ran after them and called out to Greg.

The group stopped.

“Stop right there!” one of the police yelled. He couldn’t see the gun in Jillian’s hand as Greg’s coat was draped over her arms.

“Greg! I’m sorry!” she cried.

“You stupid slag! You’re fucking useless and you led me right into a trap. This is all your fucking fault!” Greg screamed at his wife.

“I didn’t know-”

“NO! You know what? We’re done! I’m done supporting you’re dead weight! Consider this notice that our marriage is officially over! I never want to see you again, stupid cunt!” Greg growled.

“Sir! Shut the fuck up!” one of the police said.

“But- but I love you! I need you!” Jillian gasped.

“I don’t fucking care. I don’t love you. Who could?” Greg laughed.

The first bullet went through the right ventricle of Greg’s heart, the second through his neck, severing the carotid artery. Greg toppled to the ground, dead before his face hit the pavement. The police dove in opposite directions and pulled their guns.

“DROP THE WEAPON” they screamed at the woman who stood looking at her husband. Dead. She was lost once more. Her reason for living, gone. She lifted the gun one more time and followed her husband into the darkness.

-=-

The lights flickered and the guests made their way into the hall oblivious to the tragedy just outside the walls.

Ed sat next to Angie with two open seats next to him. Soon the lights dimmed and the ceremony began.

Three hours later the lights were coming back up and Ed was exhausted. He’d managed to stay awake for most of the presentations and had actually joined Angie, Thierry, Lakshmi, Reg, and Taj on stage while Angie accepted the special award for her husband’s achievements. The band also received a special award and Thierry and Reg gave heartfelt speeches and hugged on stage. Taj and Lakshmi had tears in their eyes and smiles on their faces. Ed hugged Angie and she rested her head on his shoulder.

After that excitement Ed struggled to remain conscious through award after award to people he didn’t recognize. Mostly the unsung heroes Angie explained quietly.

Now they were able to leave and they made their way back to the salon. The bar was still open but Ed wanted to remain sharp in case Greg returned. They were standing by one of the tables posing for pictures with their awards. Several photographers from the press had been invited in to take photos for the papers. One pushed forward to speak with Thierry and Reg.

“Were you aware that Greg Hahn was murdered this evening just prior to the award ceremony?” the reporter asked.

“Greg’s dead?” Thierry and Reg blurted. The three women and Ed all wore shocked expressions and a photographer caught that image as the lead image of the entertainment pages.

“Hey, we saw him being taken into police custody! Who killed him?” Reg barked at the reporter.

“His wife. A murder-suicide apparently. Happened in the alley next to the building.”

“Jillian’s dead?” Angie gasped and she began to cry.

“Do you know why she-” the reporter began but they’d had enough of the questions. They headed over to get their coats. A stretch limo was brought around and the six of them climbed in. They went to the hotel Taj and Reg were staying in because there was a great bar on the top floor that was quiet, private, and open late.

They found a lovely space to sit with three plush, leather loveseats around a low coffee table. The waitress brought them drinks. Ed was allowing himself a scotch since his bodyguard duties were apparently over.

When they were finally alone Reg released a heavy sigh. “I know this may be a tasteless and crass thing to say but I don’t feel bad in the slightest about Greg being murdered. There is a kind of cosmic balance to it. I feel bad as shit about Jillian but you know Greg is completely responsible for that as well. What he did to that woman bent her mind completely out of shape.”

Thierry leaned forward to look Angie directly in the eye. “No one here tried harder than you to free Jillian from Greg’s control. There is NO need for guilt or self-recriminations from you on that front. I know you are taking on that guilt but please understand that I’m calling bullshit on your guilt.”

Angie snorted hearing prim and proper Thierry using such coarse language. The others chuckled as well.

Ed smiled seeing Angie’s spirits being lifted by her friends. Here was a family Ed wasn’t even aware that Angie had. He was so happy for her.

The drinks arrived and Reg and Thierry saw Ed savoring his scotch. “How does someone so young pick up the knowledge of drinking scotch like seasoned professional old farts like us?” Reg asked.

“Hey!” Thierry protested being included in the ‘old fart’ reference.

The ladies giggled.

Ed smiled at them. “I was instructed in the art of appreciating good scotch by my mentor Dale Grant.”

Thierry’s eyebrows went up. “Dale Grant? That wouldn’t happen to be Dale Grant of Envirolypsis Inc, Grant Logistics, or DGEnergy would it?”

“I don’t know. He said he’s created many companies and ran them until they ran themselves. Those could be some of them,” Ed mused as he sipped the scotch.

Thierry and Reg shared a look and laughed. “The lad rubs elbows with the rich and famous and walks away unaffected!” Thierry teased.

“How should I be affected?” Ed asked curiously.

That just led to more laughter. Angie leaned over and kissed Ed’s cheek. He smiled and heard a song begin that he used to hear Shirley sing so long ago. “Can we dance?”

“Sure!” she smiled.

They went out onto the empty dancefloor and swayed to the golden tones of The Flamingos singing ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’. Ed didn’t have much of a singing voice so he didn’t try to sing along.

Angie smiled up at Ed, her eyes twinkling with her joy. They glided around the dancefloor, their bodies fitting together perfectly.

The song ended and they found themselves swaying to Etta James’ ‘At Last’. Angie rested her cheek on his chest and they just rocked together.

“Would you mind if we went back to the hotel now Ed? I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by everything that happened this evening. As horrible as it might sound, the pressure I’ve felt all these years is gone and that feels so good! I’m glad it’s over but how it ended has shaken me badly.”

“Of course! Anything you need!” Ed said.

He walked her back to their seats.

“Ed and I are going back to our hotel. I’m done in,” Angie announced.

Everyone got to their feet and hugs and kisses were exchanged. Promises were made for getting together in the New Year and they took their leave.

Once they got back to the hotel they just got ready for bed and slipped under the covers. Angie needed to snuggle and Ed had no problems with that.

-=-

In the middle of the night Ed woke hearing Angie crying out in her sleep. He gently woke her and she broke down in tears so he wrapped her in his arms until she slipped back into sleep. He stroked her back until he slipped into sleep himself.

Ed dreamt of Shirley’s skilled mouth on his cock as he slept and jolted awake when the sensations became too real. Angie looked up at him from his hard cock.

“Oh good! You’re awake!” she grinned.

He grinned back at her. Angie climbed up on his body and rubbed her wet pussy lips up and down his hard cock.

“Oh Geezus Ed that feels so good!” she moaned.

She lifted herself up and positioned the head of his cock against the outer lips of her pussy. She moaned a little at how good it felt to press his sensitive flesh against hers. So hard yet soft and hot!

Angie began to drop down over his cock and Ed’s head dropped back on his pillow as it felt so good.

“Oh Angie, it’s too good!” Ed moaned. He reached up and put his hands on Angie’s large tits, feeling the heavy, soft flesh in his fingers. He took her nipples between finger and thumb gently, rolling and pulling the stiffening buds as Angie threw her own head back in ecstasy. She dropped the rest of the way over his cock and her pelvis slapped against his.

“Ohmygod!” Ed groaned as he felt his balls tightening up. Angie bounced up and down on his cock driving him deep inside her as he squeezed and caressed her tits.

Tiring, she leaned forward and a curtain of white blond hair fell forward around Ed’s face until all he could see was Angie’s beautiful expression of bliss. Her lips were parted and her fine brows were just slightly drawn together in concentration as she gave herself completely to the sensations coursing through her body.

Ed’s hips were moving on their own driving upwards as he got closer and closer to his release. It was becoming too much for Angie and she sank down over his body, pressing her gloriously soft tits against him. He took her face between his and kissed her deeply as he slammed his hips upwards, wet slapping noises filling the room.

“Ed!ED!FUCK!OHGODED!I’MCUMMING!FUCKI’MCUMMING!CCCUUUUMMMMIIINNNNNNGGGG!!!” she squealed as her pussy clamped down on his piston-like cock.

“FFFUUUUUUCCCKKK!!!!” Ed growled as his own orgasm ripped through him. He pulled her hips down against him desperately to feel her heat squeezing his full length.

They gasped in each other’s faces as the each rocked through wave after wave of pleasure. Finally both went limp and just rested, entangled.

“Ed, you make me feel so alive!” Angie sighed happily.

Ed kissed her cheek tenderly and hugged her. “You make me so very happy.” He pulled back to look into her eyes. “I also want you to know how impressed I am with you. You were so brave coming here and facing Greg. I can’t get over how strong you are to have done that! I hope I can show that much strength one day.”

“They told you.” Angie said quietly.

“Yes. Thierry and Reg were really ashamed of what they’d done. They told me. I’m so glad they were able to follow your example and find the strength in themselves to speak to you and their wives about it. They seemed so much happier afterwards,” Ed said with a warm smile. He liked Thierry and Reg. And Lakshmi and Taj for that matter. They were good people!

Ed looked at Angie with a serious expression. “I’m glad Greg is dead. Were you dreaming about him last night?”

“No. There’s nothing left of Greg in my mind. He’s dead and I’m grateful to Jillian for that. My tears last night were for her but you saved me from wallowing in that misery. I felt so much better this morning. I felt lighter than I’ve felt in years.”

“Oh! Maybe we should order you some breakfast then.” Ed said.

“Spiritually lighter, silly man!” she grinned and he smiled as he got his mistake.

“When is our flight home?” he asked.

“Not until 2PM.”

“What time is it now?”

Angie craned her neck to look at the clock beside the bed. “It’s only 8:30AM.”

“Good!” he said and rolled them both over until he was on top. He tenderly kissed her lips and pulled back to smile at her. “Because I still have a few other ways to show you how much… I love you.”

Angie looked into Ed’s eyes and there it was. He loved her.

“Ed, you can’t… you can’t be in love with me. You’re in love with Grace! I saw how much you love her!” Angie said carefully.

“I do love Grace! Very much! And I’m also in love with Rachel. It was Grace who made me realize I was. I’m not really good with people stuff. It takes me a long time to recognize the significance of my emotions. Gauging the depth of emotion is not one of my strongest skills. For the longest time I only had Grace and Shirley but now I’m surrounded by wonderful people and you’re all so different! Each of you is so amazing and loving!” Ed dropped his eyes and continued in a more subdued tone. “I can’t stop my heart from feeling what it feels for you but I’ll understand if you don’t feel the same way. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable or put you on the spot.”

“Are you in love with the others too?” she asked quietly.

“I know with Stephanie and Carolyn it’s love. They know too as I’ve told them,” he smiled fondly at the memory.

“What about Zoe?”

Ed’s expression twisted and he carefully rolled off of Angie to lie on his back. “I- I’m so confused about Zoe. My brain itches when I think about her. It’s like… it’s like there’s another… person inside me. And that person fiercely, desperately wants Zoe… but I don’t know who that person is. And I don’t know what his need means! Is it love? Is it some kind of obsessive madness? I don’t know if any of this makes sense! It frightens me when I think about it. I don’t want to think about it now if you don’t mind. I guess… I’m not as strong as you after all,” he said glancing at Angie sadly.

“Ed, you’re plenty strong. Zoe pushes the men she’s involved with… in directions they’re sometimes not ready to go. She used to pick men who were already moving in those directions and that led to her being very badly beaten a number of times. She almost lost her life on at least two occasions. Give yourself time.” She paused to see how Ed was reacting.

“I’m going to need time as well to see if I can adjust to the idea that the man who loves me is also in love with others. It’s not… what I’m used to. Danny was a one woman man all the way,” she said with a sad smile.

Ed nodded. “I’m going to take a shower.”

“I’ll take mine after yours,” she said and saw Ed’s shoulders drop slightly. “I’m sorry, Ed.”

“No, it’s my fault. I hurt our relationship by pressuring you. That wasn’t fair of me. I’m sorry. Like I said, I’m really not good with people stuff. It’s ok.” Ed gave her a bright but brittle smile and walked into the washroom. The door closed and she heard the shower start.

He was quick in the shower and minutes later he came out with his towel wrapped around his waist. “The bathroom is all yours,” he said with a smile. He pulled some clothes out of his suitcase but waited for her to go into the bathroom before he dropped the towel and got dressed. He looked at the clock. It wasn’t even 9AM yet. He sighed. He wished Grace had been here to stop him from putting his foot in his mouth. He needed to talk with her and Rachel.

It was going to be a long morning avoiding the elephant he’d introduced to the room.

They went down stairs to have breakfast in the restaurant where they didn’t have to deal with the silence. They checked out and went to the airport early. Ed spent time in the gift shop picking up a bunch of small gifts and spent some time in one of those photo booths. Shopping for Christmas gifts in the city had been a bust for him.

Angie kept her nose in her book and Ed people watched until it was time for the flight. He was miserable with himself for making Angie so uncomfortable around him. They barely spoke a word on the flight home and during the drive from the airport. She gave him a hug at her front door and he drove home in tears. He went in the side door from the garage and Grace squealed with glee hearing him come in. She rushed to meet him in the hall and screeched to a halt when she saw his reddened eyes.

“What happened?” she gasped. Rachel followed her into the hall and saw he was upset. She gathered them both and led them into the living room where she sat them on the couch and she took the ottoman to sit in front of him.

“Edward, start at the beginning,” she said calmly.

He began to talk. And talk. He left nothing out… aside from the intimate details of his sex with Angie of course.

Rachel and Grace gasped when he told them about the murder suicide. He finally got to the colossal mistake he’d made this morning and he looked at them expecting them to tell him what a huge mistake he’d made. Rachel and Grace just waited. He sat looking at them.

“What?” Grace asked.

“What happened next, Edward?” Rachel asked. He continued and described how uncomfortable he’d made Angie.

Comprehension appeared in their eyes at last and Ed felt relieved. He wasn’t so good at describing people stuff either it seemed.

“You didn’t do anything wrong Ed.” Grace said holding his hand.

Rachel placed her hands on his knees and looked him in his eye. “Edward, look at me. You love me. You love Grace. You love Stephanie and Carolyn. We are all aware of this and none of us are upset or uncomfortable in your presence. Just the opposite in fact. So Angie is having difficulty accepting the idea of your loving her and others. This isn’t your problem or your fault. It’s her issue.”

“But if I’d just kept my mouth shut she would still be happy!” Ed exclaimed.

“Would you still feel the same way about her if you hadn’t said it?” Grace asked.

He blinked at her. “Of course.”

“I’ll talk with her-” Rachel began but Ed reached out and took her hands.

“No! Please, she said she needed time. Can we just give her some time? I don’t want anyone to feel bad. I’ve done that enough for Angie. Please.” Ed looked into Rachel’s eyes beseechingly and she had no choice but to accept his wishes.

Rachel would give Angie time. Just not forever.



Chapter 13

Grace slept in Ed’s bed with him on Sunday night but they just cuddled as she said she wasn’t feeling well. He was concerned but she assured him it was just a little stomach bug.

He slept very well with her in his arms though she was gone when he woke in the morning. He went down to the kitchen after his shower and found Grace and Rachel at the breakfast table. Grace was doing a little last minute cramming for her exam and Rachel was reading something on a digital book reader. He nuzzled Grace’s neck and she pushed him away with a chuckle.

“Ed! I’m studying!”

He grinned at her. He was so proud of her!

He stepped behind Rachel and brushed his lips down the side of her neck as he slid his hands down her arms.

“Mmmmm!” Rachel sighed and turned her head to receive a sensual kiss from Ed. She felt the kiss right down to her toes. She caught Grace’s smirk at Ed.

“Good morning to you as well!” Rachel purred.

Ed made himself some toast and gobbled it down quickly. He wanted to get into the office early so he could clear up his work early and hit the mall on the way home tonight to do some Christmas shopping. He didn’t know what he was going to get anyone but he had to start.

He soon discovered his early arrival at work wasn’t any guarantee of leaving on time. Mr. Drakos dragged him downtown to visit the Klein Group’s offices for a series of meetings. Ed reviewed specs with their designers for the new development and by the time they were done for the day… the day was over. He got a lift back to the office then drove home. He was too tired to eat and just climbed into bed. In minutes he was out.

The following day he had to deal with the work he’d missed the previous day as well as that day’s maintenance calls. He was hungry, tired and grumpy when he left the office at 6PM that night. His phone rang while he was on the way home so he hit the hands free button.

“Hello?”

“Edward? Is that you?” Rachel’s voice came over his tinny speaker.

“Yes, sorry, I have you on hands free as I’m driving home.”

“Oh good! You’re on your way! We’re in a bind. Zoe’s car is in the shop and she was going up to visit Sophia at the penitentiary tonight. It’s her last chance to visit before Christmas. Angie went out and we can’t reach her. I’m out with Tristan tonight. Grace is at University. Could I ask you to drive Zoe up to see her daughter?”

Ed sniffed himself. He needed a shower. “Do I have time to get cleaned up?”

“Yes! Thank you so much Edward! I’ll give her a call to let Zoe know to expect you. Oh! Wear that outfit she picked out for you! It will look so amazing under that new coat of yours!”

Ed snorted in amusement. “Ok, say hello to Dale and Tristan for me, alright?”

“I will! Goodnight and be careful out there! We may get some snow tonight.”

Ed said his goodnights and turned up their road. He didn’t bother driving into the garage as he was going to be coming out directly. He hustled inside and went right to his room and showered quickly. He blasted himself with cold water to refresh himself. He dried himself off and looked for the clothes Rachel was talking about.

Tight but stretchy, black wicking mid-thigh underwear. A tight charcoal grey wicking undershirt. Black slacks with a military look. Black knit socks and a black knit commando sweater complete with reinforced shoulder, and elbows. Combined with is black work boots, black leather gloves and a black knit cap, he was intimidating enough. Adding the black leather duster just made him stop and stare at himself in the mirror on the way back out the door. Shit! He didn’t recognize himself!

He jumped into his truck and pulled up his collar a little to keep the heat in. It was definitely getting colder outside and the wind was picking up. He drove down to Angie’s as Zoe was staying with her while her own house was being rebuilt from the foundation up.

He realized he’d forgotten to grab a bite to eat at home before he left as his stomach rumbled. It was too late now.

Ed wondered if Angie had returned home as he rang the doorbell.

Moments later the door opened and Zoe stood in the entrance, her smile quickly being replaced by a look of shock. The wind picked up and he was getting cold so he stepped inside and she had to move quickly to avoid his large body. She squeaked as she continued to stare at the massive shape dressed in black.

“Zoe? ZOE!” Ed said trying to get her out of her daze.

Her large deep brown eyes framed by thick black lashes locked onto his pale blue eyes. The color of ice. She shivered. Those lashes of hers were wide apart as her eyes were trapped by his gaze.

“Are you ready?” he asked. She nodded jerkily, the gold loops in her ears swinging wildly and he reached a finger over to lift her chin to close her mouth. She swallowed and pulled her eyes away. She pulled on her gold, down filled winter jacket and pulled the hood up. The faux fur collar framed her beautiful face. Those lips. Large and sensual, he desperately wanted to kiss them. Her soft pink sweater, now hidden inside the jacket, clung to her surprisingly large tits which were definitely oversized for the small 5’ 3” frame. There had been a lot of caramel colored cleavage on display. He tore his eyes away and headed back outside. She grabbed her gold purse and locked up behind herself.

It was definitely getting colder. He opened Zoe’s door and helped her in. He reached between her legs and she jumped but he was just pulling a car blanket out from under her seat. He put it on her lap for her to unfold and moved to his own side of the truck. He got in and got them underway.

“Would you like the blanket on your legs?” Zoe asked.

“Yes, please,” he replied. She tried to spread the blanket across but it was a little short. She removed her seatbelt and moved to the middle seat and fastened that belt around her. She looked up at him and he smiled at her. She smiled and pulled the blanket over their legs.

Ed could feel her softness pressing against his right side. It felt good but he was driving so he pulled his mind away from that. Soon he pulled onto the interstate. It was a forty five minute drive to get to the penitentiary. “We’re probably going to get there close to 7:30PM. When do visiting hours end?” he asked.

Zoe’s mind was reeling. Ed looked so dangerous! She was seriously getting turned on. Angie had told her that he had a new jacket but she’d failed to say how incredible he looked in it! He asked her something and was waiting for an answer. Visiting hours?

“Sorry! They have extended hours this week. Until 8:30PM,” she said in a rush.

Ed looked at Zoe. She seemed out of breath for some reason. He pulled his attention back to the road. The truck’s heater wasn’t too good and he had to keep it on defrost to be able to see. He felt Zoe trembling. Maybe it was time to look into getting a new truck. He lifted his right arm over Zoe’s head and pulled her tight against his body to share his body heat.

“Oh fuck yes!” Zoe thought. She felt his strength surrounding her and she basked in it. She rested her head against his thick chest muscle under his leather coat and put her left hand on his powerful right thigh. She felt herself drifting away on a cloud of tingly bliss.

Ed drove on, enjoying the feel of Zoe against his side. The time seemed to fly by and soon Ed was pulling off the highway to take them on the county road leading to the penitentiary. They pulled into the parking lot and found a spot someone just vacated by the sidewalk leading to the visitor’s entrance. The parking lot was emptying out and Ed noticed there weren’t that many visitors left. Maybe four cars. He looked at the line of cars heading out on the small country road and wondered if they knew something he didn’t. He turned back to the forbidding looking building. He shut off the engine.

Zoe came out of her daze as Ed turned off the car. She was toasty warm under the blanket and didn’t want to move unless it was to climb onto Ed’s-

He opened the door and the wind almost yanked it from his hand. Cold air ripped into the cab and he jumped out slamming the door and hustled over to Zoe’s side. He opened her door, scooped her into his arms and lifted her out of the cab. He kicked the truck’s door closed and ran for the entrance doors with Zoe held against his chest to protect her from the cold winds. He bumped the handicap plate and carried her inside as the doors opened. Once they were inside he lowered her to her feet but she clung to his jacket so he slid her down his chest until her feet touched the floor.

Ed noticed she had her eyes closed and she was trembling. He guessed that she must have gotten a chill. He tucked his cap and gloves into his pocket then opened his jacket. He wrapped it around her, squeezing her tight against the warmth of his knit sweater encased chest.

Zoe moaned as Ed held her so tightly against his body. She was almost delirious from how good he felt.

Ed looked down at Zoe when he heard her make a sound. Her face was pressed against his sweater and she was taking deep breaths. He took her head between his hands and her silky hair ran between his fingers. His mind momentarily failed him as he let himself be carried off by the pure sensual experience of his hands in her hair. He tore himself back to the here and now and took her shoulders in his hands to push her back from his chest.

“Zoe! Are you alright? Are you able to visit your daughter?” Ed asked with concern in his voice.

Sophia. Right. She was here to see her daughter. Zoe gave herself a shake. And gazed up into Ed’s eyes. She nodded.

Zoe made her way over to the registration desk with Ed following. She spoke to the clerk as she had preregistered for a visit with her daughter. Ed wasn’t recorded so he had to give his details to the clerk who was a little bit hard of hearing. It took three times for him to understand it was ‘Edward Walters’ not ‘Edward Walker‘. Finally he was registered for a visit. The clerk told them to sit down and they would be called to enter.

As he guided Zoe back to a chair a smartly dressed dark skinned woman holding a cell in her hand walked up to Ed.

“Excuse me. I couldn’t help but overhear. Your name is Edward Walters? Are you acquainted with Victoria Rutledge?”

Ed blinked at the woman. “Uh, yes. I know Victoria.”

“My name is Kendra Hill. I’m Victoria’s attorney. She talks about you frequently. Are you here to visit someone inside?”

“No, I’m just here with my friend to see her daughter,” he replied.

“Could you spare a moment to speak with Victoria? She’s inside the meeting area waiting for me to finish this call. No one comes to see her except me. I think she’d love to speak with you.”

Zoe was looking at him with concern but Ed nodded. “I’ll see you when you come in,” he said and she nodded.

The attorney led him over to the registration desk and made the arrangements. She went back to her call and Ed went inside. The guards went over his leather coat looking for contraband but he was clean. He went inside and saw a large brightly lit room with tables and bolted down chairs around them. At one of the tables was Victoria. She looked so lost.

Gone was the perfect, unlined skin and the perfectly styled hair. Gone was the almost doll like perfection and glamor of a Hollywood star from days gone by. Now she looked… human. Pretty. No, Ed thought she was beautiful because now she looked real.

He smiled as he walked up to her and saw her expression freeze. She covered her face with her hands and he could see she was beginning to cry. He sat down and took her hands in his. She looked down so he wouldn’t see her face.

“Shhhh, please don’t cry! Why are you hiding your face? You look so lovely!” he said quietly to calm her.

Her eyes came back up. He saw some faded bruises. She’d been in a fight. He looked at her smooth knuckles and more faded bruises on her forearms and realized she wasn’t fighting, she’d been attacked. His heart went out to her. This was no environment for her. He was surprised she’d survived.

“I- I’m not lovely in here,” she said quietly unable to look him in the eye. “You weren’t supposed to see me like this. I’m going to be released on Christmas day. I was going to get all of this put right and then I would come see you. You shouldn’t have seen me like this.” Her tears were returning.

“This is real! This is true beauty! You have a deep beauty but you were hiding it before under a thin layer of false perfection. Now I can see how truly lovely you really are. Please don’t hide yourself again. This is so much better! When you had them cover you so completely, it stole away the warmth of your humanity. Perfection is cold, untouchable.”

Ed ran his thumbs gently over the soft skin on the back of her hands. “This is warm, approachable, and best of all it’s real. This is a woman a man could speak to and want to get to know. I know women prefer to wear a little make-up and that’s fine but please don’t lose this!”

She was looking at him straight in the eye now. She was slack jawed with surprise and he grinned at her causing her to blush.

“There it is! I wouldn’t have been able to see how pretty your blush is before.” Ed was grinning ear to ear and she couldn’t help smiling in return.

“I’m glad I came to the penitentiary tonight. It’s great to hear you are getting to leave so soon. How did that happen?” he asked.

“My lawyer won our appeal. She found additional videos I hadn’t destroyed of my husband abusing me and was able to prove I was a battered wife.” She looked at Ed curiously. “Why- why are you here?”

“A friend of mine came up to visit her daughter. I drove her here. It’s the last visit Zoe can have with her before Christmas,” he explained.

A sad expression slipped across Victoria’s face.

“Are you not able to see your daughters?” he asked gently.

“They aren’t speaking with me right now. They are in England with my parents. Who are also not speaking with me,” she said, her voice breaking.

“They don’t understand what you went through with that man. He was not a nice man at all! They will come around. You just have to be strong for yourself. Your kids will have to grow up a little to understand. You may need to be patient with them. They’re kids,” Ed said nodding to himself.

He suddenly looked up at her. “Wait! You’re being released on Christmas day and you have no family to go home to?” She nodded sadly.

“When you get home get your Christmas party clothes on and come to Angie Spencer’s house. The party starts from 4PM on. That’s where you will find us. You can celebrate with us!” Ed exclaimed.

“I wouldn’t want to intrude-”

“No one should be alone at Christmas! Promise me you will come by!” he insisted, looking her right in the eye.

She smiled and nodded. Her eyes flicked over his shoulder and she nodded to Zoe who was entering the room. Ed smiled at her as well and Zoe nodded back with a gentle smile. She walked away as Sophia was entering the room through another door.

Kendra Hill arrived to stand by the table.

“Hello again, Mr. Walters. I need to speak with my client now if you don’t mind. I have to make arrangements to get her out of this place by Christmas.”

“Yes, she’s coming to our Christmas party that day. Don’t let me prevent you from making that happen.

Ed kissed the knuckles on Victoria’s left hand and nodded his goodbyes to her. He walked over to see Zoe and noticed Sophia was watching him approach with real fear in her eye. He saw it was only Zoe’s grip on her hand that kept the young woman from fleeing.

Ed sat down across from her and saw she was trembling.

He wondered what had brought her to this level of fear. It couldn’t be him.

“Hello Sophia,” he said.

“Hello Mr. Walters.” Sophia squeaked.

Ed looked at her cautiously. “You can call me Ed. Are you ok?”

“Please don’t hurt me,” she whined.

“I would never hurt you!” he gasped.

Sophia looked at Ed like she didn’t believe him.

“Why would you think I would do that?” he said incredulously.

“Don’t play with me!” she growled and the guards looked over at them with a scowl.

“I swear I’m not! I hold no grudge against you. I’m not mad at you. I forgive you.” Ed said as bluntly as he could.

“What?” the young woman gasped, staring at him, clearly shaken.

“I don’t hold grudges. That behavior never really made sense to me. It’s over. It happened and we all move on. There is already too much other stuff happening in life to waste time on stuff that happened in the past. I forgive you. You should forgive yourself maybe and think of things you can do to ease your conscience. It makes you feel so much better,” he said with a smile.

Sophia began to cry. Zoe looked at Ed and mouthed ‘thank you’ to him. He felt embarrassed to see the young woman falling apart. He stood and pointed to the exit. Zoe nodded.

As he left he noticed that Victoria and her lawyer were no longer there and it looked like Zoe was the last visitor. According to the clock on the wall there was just fifteen minutes left anyway. The guards let him out and he walked back to the front doors. Looking out the window he noticed the snow was coming down really hard. He walked back to the registration desk.

“You weren’t planning to drive back to the city were ya?” the man behind the counter called out.

“That was the plan, yes,” Ed admitted.

“Interstate is closed. County roads are almost impassible as well. You’ll have to wait until the plows come by in the morning.

Ed felt fatigue settle on his bones. An ache began in his head. He needed to eat. “Is there a hotel nearby? Food?”

“Just the Cloverleaf Roadhouse and Inn about a mile east of here. Clean rooms and a good restaurant but the bar there can get pretty rowdy. Being so close to the penitentiary it gets more than its fair share of the rougher element. You be careful if you go there.”

Ed nodded. It didn’t look like they had an alternative. “Where did the lawyer go?”

“Kendra? She has family nearby,” the clerk explained.

“Ah.”

Ed found himself a chair and waited for Zoe. It wouldn’t be long as visitor’s hours were almost up. He watched the storm outside the window and its ferocity seemed to be increasing. This was what the other visitors had been fleeing. He rubbed his temples as the ache grew.

Zoe showed up at exactly 8:30PM and rushed over to hug Ed.

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” she cried into his chest.

“What? What did I do?”

“For the first time in years I got through to my baby. After she broke down I spoke with her and we really connected. I could finally see my little Sophia behind the poison her father filled her head with. She sees it too now! Oh Ed, this is too wonderful!”

Ed smiled down at Zoe and hugged her tight. When he pulled back his expression was concerned. “Listen, we have a bit of a problem.” He pointed outside. “The road back to the city is closed due to the storm. There’s an inn a mile away we might be able to get some rooms in but we’d better go now.”

Zoe looked up at him and just nodded. They zipped and buttoned up and pushed out into the storm. Ed got Zoe back into the truck and went around to get in his side. A large snow drift was blocking his door but he managed to get in finally. He got the truck started and clear of the drift and got them back out onto the county road heading east. Even with the wipers going full speed visibility sucked so they drove very slowly. The drifts across the road made the driving all the more treacherous.

Finally they saw the glow of a sign on the north side of the road up ahead and pulled off into a parking lot. Ed saw the lot was pretty full and was worried about their being able to get some rooms. Exhaustion weighed his shoulders down, hunger gnawed at his stomach and concentrating so hard on the road had turned the ache in his head into a thumping pain. They had to stop. Besides, there was nowhere else to go.

He carried Zoe across the snowy parking lot to the front door and they went inside. The noise was deafening from the bar and restaurant down the hall to the right. The reception was straight ahead so they shook off the snow and walked up to the desk.

A grizzled old man with the nastiest beard Ed had ever seen watched them approach, keeping an eye on the large brute dressed in black. His eyes turned to the shorter beauty when she pushed her hood back.

“Good evening. We’d like to get two rooms for the night,” Zoe said.

“All I got is one left. A double bed, at the far end of the hall, ground floor. Everyone is stuck in the storm. Bad for driving. Good for business.” He cackled and Ed thought his voice sounded like dry fall leaves crunching underfoot. It rattled his nerves and he scowled. The man’s smile slipped away as he eyed Ed nervously.

“We’ll take it.” Zoe said glancing at Ed with a frown.

“I need to eat.” Ed grunted to Zoe and she nodded. She wondered at his gruffness. Maybe it was his hunger? She saw him yawn.

Zoe exchanged information with the clerk and they got their room key.

“Restaurant is pretty full. You may need to eat in the bar,” the old man offered and Ed’s scowl returned. Zoe thanked the man and they moved towards the restaurant.

“Why are you upset?” Zoe asked Ed quietly.

“Sorry, I’m just tired and hungry. It’s been a really hectic week and it’s only Tuesday. The drive did me in,” Ed apologized. They reached the entrance and a harried looking hostess shook her head.

“Maybe there’s a table in the bar?” the woman suggested.

Ed recalled the warning from the clerk but he was beyond caring at this point. He was hungry and he wanted to eat! He stalked into the bar and looked around. It was pretty full as well and noisy. He walked slowly down the aisle peering into the dimly lit room for an empty table. There were booths for four along the wall and most of them only had two people in them.

Ed stopped and growled in frustration. Two men in the booth next to him stood up and made their way to the bar so Ed sat down at the booth they’d vacated rather quickly. Zoe slid into the other side of the booth with a surprised look on her face.

She was staring at him wondering where this behavior was coming from. He’d growled and frightened off the customers! Kind sweet Ed was intimidating! She felt a thrill run through her.

A few minutes later a waitress stopped at the table. “What can I get ya?”

“Food. Burger?” Ed asked and she nodded. “Two burgers and an order of fries.” His head ached. “Scotch. Make it a double.”

The waitress turned to Zoe. “A burger with salad please. Oil and vinegar dressing. Beer. Whatever’s on tap that goes well with the burger.” The waitress smiled at her and hustled away.

Ed undid the top two buttons on his coat but kept it on as the room was a little cool even with all the bodies in it. He looked up and saw a ceiling vent. He held up his hand and felt cool air pouring down from it. He scowled again.

“Who runs air conditioning in a snow storm?” he muttered.

“Ed! What’s wrong? You’re so… angry!” Zoe asked.

He glanced over at her. “Sorry, I get irritable when I have a headache and this one is a doozy.”

“Why didn’t you say anything? We could have gotten some pain killers at the penitentiary.”

Ed shrugged and rubbed his temple. “I rarely get headaches.”

She reached across the table and placed a hand on his and stroked it sympathetically.

Ed looked down and marveled at how small her hands looked against his. Then he recalled just how strong her small hands were. In their very first meeting she’d taken him for a ride and she’d clung to him with incredible tenacity.

A familiar pressure began to build in his pants as he remembered that day. Ed turned his hand over and held her fingers in his. She smiled at him and he raised her hand to his lips. When he began to sensually kiss each knuckle she gasped and squirmed at the feel of his lips caressing the soft skin. The sensation was shooting directly to her pussy and she couldn’t get her hand back from his grip. His eyes were on hers and the heat in them made her feel like she was naked to his gaze.

“Ed! Oh fuck ED! Please, oh fuck!” she panted.

He caught motion in the corner of his eye and looked to see the waitress standing beside the table frozen by the display. He released Zoe’s hand.

Zoe pressed her fingers to her own lips causing a flare of lust in Ed’s eyes that made her gasp once more. Ed looked like he was seconds away from tearing the table away and taking her against the wall. Fuck! She wanted that so much! She forced herself to look towards the waitress. The woman placed Ed’s scotch before him with a trembling hand which she snatched back. She placed Zoe’s beer in front of her while Ed took a sip of his drink.

Ed swallowed and felt the drink burn its way harshly down his throat. This was not good scotch. There was little point in sipping it to savor the flavor so he threw the rest down his throat and hissed his disapproval. He looked at the waitress. “Is this the best scotch you have?” With the burning in his throat his words came out far more menacing than he’d intended.

She nodded with wide eyes.

Ed looked at his glass. “It tastes like turpentine but it’s as good a painkiller as any. I’ll have another double.” He placed his glass back on the woman’s tray. She nodded and rushed away.

Zoe stared at Ed. Maybe the clothes were affecting him. It felt like the gentle soul across the table had been replaced by someone dark, dangerous and violent, full of suppressed rage. She began to shiver in reaction.

Ed saw Zoe shivering and scowled up at the vents again. He slid a little further into the booth and looked at Zoe. “Come over here.” He held open the right side of his jacket and she understood what he wanted. She pulled her coat off and moved over to his side of the table, sliding right up against his side and he wrapped his coat and arm around her. He loved the feel of her soft curves touching him. She felt… really good.

Zoe leaned back against his hard body. It felt so good and she felt so safe under his arm. She looked up and saw he was looking down at her with a different kind of hunger.

The waitress returned with his drink and cutlery wrapped in napkins. While she placed them on the table Ed slammed the scotch back. He placed the glass on her tray and she looked at him. “Another?”

Ed’s throat was burning raw so he just nodded. She nodded in return and moved away.

The scotch was beginning to dull his headache and Ed was grateful for that. He began to relax and he hugged Zoe tighter to his body. She sighed and bit her lower lip as she smiled to herself. Ed watched her pearly teeth slide across her plump lip and he leaned his head down and used his left hand to turn her chin towards him.

Zoe gasped as Ed’s lips closed on hers. The first kiss was gentle. A simple pressing of their lips together. Then he slid his lower lip against hers as she sucked in her breath, sparks shooting through her nerves. The third kiss introduced his tongue gently stroking her upper lip. Zoe’s nipples stiffened and pressed against the tight fabric of her top. She tried to kiss him harder but he held her in place as his mouth explored hers. She whined her need but still he stroked and caressed her mouth as her tongue tried to catch his. Her hands desperately slipped below the table’s surface and found the hard ridge of his cock pressing against his pant leg. Ed’s mouth stopped and he growled deep in his chest. Zoe pulled her hands back and froze, her body shaking, her breath short. She almost came in her pants right then. It was as if she was being kissed by some feral beast, just this side of violence, passion without control or measure. She felt him trembling as well but it was just a sign of him preparing to take his prey.

There was a sharp knock on the table and Ed pulled back from Zoe’s delicious mouth to look over at a man wearing a strange looking hat and a dark blue jacket with something on the arms. He was carrying a stick which he’d used to rap the table with. “Save that for someplace private… sir,” the man said looking away from Ed’s baleful gaze. He looked at Zoe instead and she recognized the uniform of a local police officer. She nodded to him and pulled away from Ed who leaned back against the bench and rested his eyes. The officer smiled at Zoe and moved on. Zoe caught worried glances from some of the other patrons and she had to stifle a smirk as she knew how sweet Ed really was.

Ed’s third double scotch arrived and Zoe gestured for the waitress to leave it quietly while his eyes were closed. She didn’t want him ordering another one until their food arrived.

The woman nodded gratefully and quickly left.

Zoe froze. Dread filled her as she saw the new arrival walk into the bar from the restaurant. She hadn’t seen him since her husband went to jail so long ago. She’d prayed she’d never see him again. Luis Ramos was a cold blooded killer. Her husband’s second in command. The last thing she’d heard he was on the run. What the hell was he doing here, so close to the penitentiary… Sophia! That demon Matias, must have found out where Sophia was and sent Luis to get in touch with her! That’s why Sophia had been so shaken when they met!

Ed felt Zoe go still next to him. He cracked open his eyes to see what she was looking at. He saw a man, not very tall, not so big, but something cold in his eyes. He wasn’t worried though. Ed felt very calm. He looked down. Ah. More scotch. He sipped it this time, tired of scorching his throat and was surprised to find it actually tasted… not quite as much like turpentine as before.

The man turned to face their direction and went still. Ed noticed he was looking at Zoe and something about how he was looking at her raised the fine hairs on the back of Ed’s neck. He began to growl quietly and stopped when Zoe’s hand suddenly gripped his tightly. The man noticed this action and Ed finally registered on his brain. The lecherous smile disappeared from his face and for a second he seemed uncertain. Then a cold calculated look smoothed out his features and he stepped towards their table wearing a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. His coat was over his arm.

“Zoe, as I live and breathe. I never expected to see you again.” Luis said smoothly. Ed already didn’t like this man.

She took strength from Ed’s solidity next to her. “Luis, I regret all three of those things.”

His smile cracked a little and his eyes got a little sharper. “Cold words for a cold night.” He looked at the busy bar and back at their table. “Busy place. Mind if I join you? We could talk about the good old days. Remember the fun we used to have?”

“Pulling wings from butterflies.” Zoe breathed and Luis smiled as he recalled the moment.

Ed didn’t know what she meant by that but how it made Luis smile triggered an almost feral anger in him. He saw Zoe was frozen with fear and something in him was raging to get out. He didn’t know how to deal with someone like Luis so he loosened his grip a little on the leash to that rage.

“I don’t believe Zoe wants to talk to you. I don’t believe those old days were that good.” Ed said calmly but he felt a slow burn begin.

Luis looked at Ed and pretended to ignore his words but inside he was already imagining how he was going to carve up this insolent child. “Zoe, perhaps you should tell your big friend here to be polite. This could be a friendly visit.” Luis said quietly and she shuddered. She knew how dangerous Luis was and Ed was a kitten in a shark tank. She gestured for Luis to sit and Ed glanced at her in surprise but he held his tongue.

Luis looked very pleased with himself now. He tucked himself into the booth and pushed Zoe’s coat over a little. He looked at it and lifted the hood to his nose to breathe in deeply. “Ah, I see you still wear that delightful perfume.”

“Doesn’t he understand how creepy that makes him?” Ed asked Zoe and she snorted in surprise. She hushed Ed as her terror came rushing back. Ed didn’t like seeing her afraid. Not one bit. He looked back at Luis who wasn’t smiling.

Ed pulled his arm from behind Zoe’s shoulders. He leaned back against the bench with his hands relaxed on his lap and studied the man across from him. He took another sip of his scotch and it was almost smooth… no, no it wasn’t.

Luis began to sneer. “I see Zoe never spoke to you about me… about us. Even when she was with Matias I would take her as mine. She was feisty but she always bowed to my needs like a good little… slut,” he said baiting the big man. When he exploded with rage Luis would let his blade dance and the man would scream… deliciously. It would be self defense of course but the man would still die.

Instead Luis was disappointed as the big goon just sat there, staring back at him with no expression at all! Sipping at his drink. Something was wrong with him. Luis needed to push harder.

“She didn’t tell you how she screamed out my name begging me to stop. Then begging me to continue as I took her to the very edge of existence? She was mine.” He leaned forward hands under the table, blade ready to dig deeply into the big thigh, aiming for the artery. “She will be mine again.” He looked at Zoe and saw her tears and trembling. Looking back at her companion he frowned. Nothing. It made no sense. Where was the rage?

Ed finished his drink. He put it down and leaned forward to look into the eyes of the man across the table. He’d felt the slightest of touches against the inside of his knee so he knew he was up to something. He was a bad man and he’d made Zoe scared and sad. His Zoe. Ed released his grip on the leash completely. He smiled.

“You say Zoe was yours yet you lost her. If she was yours you should have held on to her.”

Ed grabbed Luis’ wrists under the table. Luis tried to wrench his hands back and thumped the underside of the table instead making Zoe shriek. He looked into the cold ice blue eyes across the table. The smile was gone. He pulled at his arms but the grip was too strong and it was getting tighter. It began to hurt. Really hurt.

“LET- LET GO!” Luis barked at him as his face twisted with the pain.

Ed suddenly leaned back and planted his big black work boot on Luis’ chest while he kept a grip on his arms.

“Listen carefully to me Luis. Do I have your attention?” Ed’s voice was cold and angry. The rage Luis had been looking for was arriving but it was still a slow build up.

Luis was having trouble breathing as the boot was pushing so hard on his chest and his arms were being pulled hard in the opposite direction. His shoulders felt like they were going to pop out. Luis was gritting his teeth in his own rage and spittle was leaking from his lips. “I’M GOING TO FUCKING KILL YOU THEN I’M GOING TO FUCK ZOE AND KILL HER TOO!” Luis spat. The noise level in the bar dropped considerably.

Ed squeezed and bones cracked. Luis screamed and dropped his butterfly knife which bounced out onto the floor of the aisle. The bar went quiet. Everyone looked in their direction and people in nearby tables got up and moved into the aisle. But no one left.

“No Luis. You’re not going to do those things because I can’t let you hurt Zoe anymore. I’m going to tell you something very important now. Are you listening?”

The pain was excruciating and Luis had tears running down his cheeks. He nodded then screamed ‘Yes’ when the man squeezed his broken wrists, grinding the bones together.

“Look at me Luis. Look into my eyes and hear me.” Ed’s voice was almost a whisper. Luis was shaking and drooling but he managed to follow the instructions. Ed nodded. He was ready.

“ZOE. IS. MINE!” Ed released the rage in one mighty roar and pulled with all his might.

Luis’ high pitched scream went on and on. When Ed let go the smaller man toppled sideways and fell out of the booth. He was unconscious before his head hit the floor.

Ed sagged back against the bench and gave himself a shake. The rage was gone. Completely. He felt so much better but he was very light headed. He needed food. He looked at Zoe who was staring in shock at the man on the floor. The man who hurt her. “Are you ok Zoe?” Ed asked. “He’s not going to hurt you anymore.”

Zoe turned her eyes to Ed and he was looking at her with concern. Gentle, sweet Ed destroyed one of the most vicious sadistic monsters she knew.

The butterfly. Oh my god!

Ed lifted his hands back onto the table and Zoe shrieked when she saw the blood on his hand. There was a bloody gash across the back of the right one. Where Luis slashed him with the blade.

“FREEZE!”

The officer who’d been by earlier finally worked up the nerve to approach. He had his gun out and pointed at Ed who raised his eyebrows in surprise. He lifted his hands up causing blood to drip onto the table. Zoe pulled his hand down and pressed her napkin onto the wound. She looked at the officer. “Get a first aid kit! He’s bleeding badly!”

“He just pulled this guy’s arms off!” the cop yelled pointing to man on the floor.

“That guy is Luis Ramos. He’s wanted for murder, rape, and a number of other terrible things. He raped me and almost beat me to death twice and he was definitely going to kill us tonight. Ed stopped him. Now get me some bandages!!!” Zoe screamed.

The waitress arrived with the first aid kit. She and Zoe worked on sealing the cut on Ed’s hand. Once they got the blood cleaned up they saw it wasn’t as bad as it first appeared. They covered it with gauze and wrapped it.

“Please, is our food ready?” Ed asked the waitress.

The woman smiled at him and nodded at Zoe. She stepped over the man on the floor and left to get his meal. The cop watched incredulously as Ed grinned widely as his food arrived. Ed thanked the woman and began eating. He smiled and sighed in happiness. The bar’s noise level began to return to normal though most of the attention was on them.

Two snowy State Troopers pushed their way through the crowd and stood over the unconscious body.

“What happened? Who’s this?” one demanded as the other knelt to examine the damage done to him.

Zoe raised an eyebrow at the cop.

“Apparently he’s Luis Ramos. Wanted for murder, rape and other offenses. He accosted these two with that knife and that fellow there eating did… that to him.”

The trooper on the floor pulled a plastic evidence bag from a pocket and used his glove to place the knife into the bag. He went to check the man’s pockets and found his wallet and passport.

“His driver’s license says he’s Ray Mendez. His passport says the same.” the trooper on the floor said.

“He’s a wanted criminal. He was the partner of my ex-husband, Matias Escobar. I think he’s still working with him though Matias is in jail.” Zoe said.

“Matias Escobar? Shit!” the standing trooper exclaimed. He was familiar with the case. The unconscious man did look a little like Luis Ramos without the beard.

The trooper was going through Luis’ coat which had fallen to the floor. “I found a gun. No, two guns and an extra clip.”

The group paused and looked at the unconscious man. If he’d started the confrontation with the guns instead of the knife the outcome would have been considerably different.

“How did you get here?” the cop asked the troopers.

“Four wheel drive SUV. Why?”

“If you can get him to the penitentiary they have a medical department there which may be able to save his arms,” the cop explained.

The State Troopers looked at each other and shrugged. One left and came back with a sheet. They lifted Luis onto it and carried him away.

The cop turned to Zoe. “You staying here tonight?”

“Yes,” she answered.

“Please don’t leave until I’ve gotten your statements in the morning,” he said.

“No promises that Ed will remember much,” she said looking at the man polishing off the second burger.

The cop nodded and followed the troopers out.

Zoe moved to the seat across from Ed and nibbled on her own food as she watched him. What he’d done for her tonight. He’d saved her life. He’d punished Luis for her. She smiled thinking of his delicious screams. When he’d bellowed in Luis’ face that she was his… it took her breath away! She wondered if that was just the scotch talking. She looked more closely at him. He didn’t seem too tipsy. The waitress stopped by and she asked for a large glass of water for Ed.

When she returned with it Ed drank the entire glass in one shot. He thanked the woman for the delicious food. She was quite taken with his change in attitude and gave him a big smile. Zoe asked for the bill.

“What was that Ed?” Zoe asked.

“What was what?”

“Earlier. You were so… grim.”

“I don’t know. Hunger, headache, exhaustion. Maybe all of the above. It’s a little blurry for me. I feel better now that I’ve eaten. Headache’s gone.” He yawned mightily. “I’m still really tired though. Are you done? Can we go to the room?”

She nodded and paid the bill. She gave the waitress a very generous tip and they headed for the room.

As they passed the lobby Ed smiled at the old man behind the counter surprising a smile out of him in return. They stopped by the large picture window looking out over the parking lot. The snow was blowing hard but it didn’t seem to be falling any longer. The cars would need digging out in the morning.

They walked down the long hallway to the last room. Zoe unlocked the door and they entered. Ed flipped on the light and looked at the tiny room. It had to be the smallest hotel room he’d ever seen. He moved further into the room and looked at the bed with some concern.

“It’s pretty small,” he said to her and she nodded.

Zoe hung up her coat by the door and stepped into the tiny bathroom shutting the door behind her. Clean towels. Toilet paper, soap, shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion. The basics. Toilet, sink, and a stand up shower stall that might not fit Ed’s broad shoulders. It would do. She used the toilet and washed her face and hands. She pulled off her leggings and slipped off her panties. The panties went into the sink for a good rinsing. She rung them out as much as she could. They’d go on the radiator to dry overnight.

Stepping out of the washroom she bounced off of Ed’s back as he was hanging up his coat. God! He was like a brick wall dressed in black!

“Sorry!” he muttered. He slipped into the washroom after she passed by. He’d missed the fact that she was naked from the waist down.

Zoe took off the rest of her clothes and neatly folded them as she’d need to wear them in the morning. She stacked them on the bureau and took off her earrings, gold wrist bangles, and rings. Her panties went onto the heater by the window.

She pulled the quilt down and the sheets were white, clean and smelled freshly washed. The hotel was as basic as it came but at least it was clean. Then she noticed the room had no TV.

When Ed came out of the washroom he was holding his folded clothes in front of himself. “I had to wash my underwear as I’ll be wearing them tomorrow,” he said. Zoe smiled and pointed to the heater. Ed saw the pink panties drying there and he smiled. He put his clothes on the chair and laid out his underwear next to hers to dry.

Zoe watched him turn and walk back to the bed. God, he looked delicious!

Ed carefully slipped under the covers and settled himself on the small bed until he was no longer hanging over the edge. He felt Zoe’s soft, naked skin against his side and a pressure began in his groin.

Zoe was on the edge of the bed. She lifted Ed’s left arm and tucked herself in against his body more tightly. She heard Ed moan quietly and she smiled to herself. She was also enjoying the feeling of his skin against hers. When he brought his arm back down he pulled her in closer, his fingers kneading the muscles on her back.

“Oh fuck, Zoe! You feel incredible!” he sighed.

She loved feeling Ed’s hands on her but there was a question she needed him to answer. She looked up at him through her bangs as she rested her chin on his chest. Her eyes were dark and held something Ed couldn’t recognize. “Ed… back in the bar you told Luis that… I was yours.”

Ed blushed furiously. The words made him sound like a primitive brute. He wanted to apologize to her for acting like she was a thing to be possessed… but he couldn’t. He looked into her anxious eyes as his mouth moved but he made no sound. Instead his body acted. He pulled her to the center of the small bed and pinned her to the mattress under his body. He kissed her, hard and passionately. She squealed at his aggression and clung to him.

He pulled back from the kiss and looked into her now dazed eyes. “You’re mine,” Ed said, his voice soft and deep. Her smile burst across her face like a new dawn. His heart almost burst as it swelled with love for the woman in his grasp. He stroked his lips back and forth across hers, the tip of his tongue dancing out to touch hers briefly. She made little mewls of need as she struggled to capture his tongue. He moved his mouth down to her stiff nipples, sucking on one as he rolled and tugged the other. Zoe arched her back to force more of her tit into his mouth but he continued to tease and abuse them drawing squeals and hisses from her. His mouth moved further down her body but his hands continued to squeeze her big tits. He didn’t bother with the subtleties when he reached her pussy. He lapped and sucked and flicked until she screamed out her orgasm, her fingers roughly tangled in his hair pulling him tighter to her sex.

As she wailed and shook he moved back up and rubbed his cock over her dripping lips. He pushed forward suddenly and drove his cock deep inside her. His mouth was on hers again, his tongue stroking and exploring her mouth as hers did the same in his. He gripped her hair and took her mouth with his as she gasped and moaned. His hips thrust forward forcing his cock deeper with each stroke until she had it all. Then he put some real power into his thrusting. Her legs wrapped around his hips so he could thrust deeper and faster and her arms slid around his sides to hang on for dear life as they bounced on the cheap mattress. He hammered into her and she began to claw at his back as her second release reached critical mass. He moved his head down next to her and growled as his own orgasm rushed over him.

“fuckmefuckmefuckmefuckmefuckmefuckmefuckmeFUCKMEFUCKMEFUCKMEEEEE!” she chanted from a whisper until she was screaming.

“OH FUCK ZOE!” he roared as he pinned her down against the mattress. He rocked back and forth across her clit as he fired his cum deep inside her.

“AAAAHHHHH! AAAAHHHHH! AAAAHHHH!” she cried as the pressure took her higher.

Ed pulled back until he was half way out and lifted his weight from Zoe to let her catch her breath. He watched her face as she came back to her body. The pink tip of her tongue swept across her slightly swollen lips. Her breathing slowly steadied but her eyes continued to roll back and forth as her eyelids opened and closed randomly. He smiled and pulled himself from her body and his cock surged. He still wanted her.

He rolled Zoe onto her stomach and her eyes opened to look at him over her shoulder. He pushed her legs apart and slowly lowered his cock against her pussy. He used minimal force this time but his cock slowly pushed inside. He was so gradual about it she began to shake as her body expected the harsh pounding. Still he went slowly and eventually he was fully encased in her pussy once more. Gentle ripples ran up and down his length as her body reacted to his thick intruder once more. He rested his weight against her round ass and she hissed with pleasure.

Ed kissed her cheek and neck gently as she slowly pressed her ass back against his pelvis. He throbbed slowly and she sighed as she felt that. He began to rock forward and back making his cock rub Zoe’s pussy in a very odd way. The underside of his cock was dragging against the front wall of her pussy while the top was rubbing the sensitive skin at the base. He kept his movements slow and drawn out.

“FUUUUCCKK! MOTHERFUCK-AH!” Zoe gasped as her head dropped to the pillow as her body went through a series of tremors. He found a position where he could make shallow strokes to rub the head of his cock against a particularly sensitive spot inside her pussy.

“OH SHIT! MOTHERFUCKER! YES! RIGHT THE- THE- THERE! FUCK YES!” Zoe cried out. He began to stroke his cock roughly in and out even at the severe angle.

“AAAHHH! MOTHERFU- AHHHHHH!” Zoe wailed. He began to speed up and Zoe lost complete control of her muscles. She was his to take. His rubbing over that sensitive spot was turning her inside out. She clung to the sheets and wailed constantly and incoherently.

“UUUUHHHNNNN! FFFFUUUUUUU- UUUUUHHHHHNNNN!”

Ed needed to go faster so he tipped downwards slightly and began to slap her ass with his pelvis. The impacts were sending shockwaves through her body and she suddenly clamped down on his cock as her muscles spasmed with her sudden climax. Ed managed only three more thrusts before he exploded inside her once again. He rested his weight on her ass and she squeezed his cock tightly within her as her muscles spasmed once more.

He pulled his softening cock from her and she moaned quietly.

She rolled over to let him rest on his side facing her. Her face was flushed and she was smiling blissfully at him.

“You’re dangerously addictive, Zoe. I don’t know why I act like I do with you. I could do this all night and never have enough.” Ed sighed. Her eyes widened as she looked down at his semi-hard cock bobbing against his leg with his pulse.

“No, we won’t do it again tonight. We really have to get some sleep.” Ed said. She looked relieved but she also didn’t. He looked away before he lost control again. Already he was feeling the tug of her sexy body.

“Is- is it just the sex?” she asked with a quiet voice.

Ed’s eyes locked on hers and she sucked in a breath. There was a fierceness in his gaze she’d only seen when he was confronting Luis. He took her face between his hands. She felt his trembling as he struggled with his emotions.

“I wasn’t sure what’s driving my… intense need for you. I was worried that it was the sex because I don’t want to be that kind of person. I’m not! But earlier when I told you that you’re mine I realized then that I meant everything. Mind, body and soul. I love you Zoe.”

Zoe burst into tears and pulled Ed’s face to hers. She kissed him tenderly and his lips were so gentle against hers. This was the Ed everyone else got to love. And he loved her too! Her tears flowed down her face.

“Why are you crying?” Ed asked cautiously. He wasn’t sure if she was happy or if he had upset her.

She struggled to get control of herself and rested her forehead against the thick muscles of his chest. God! She felt so safe! “I’ve had such bad luck with love Ed. I’m a magnet for the worst kind of men. I didn’t expect to ever find someone to love again after the horror of my marriage to Matias and abuse by Luis. I was too afraid. I gave up hope. I avoided sex as well as the men I met all turned cruel. I took a chance on you and discovered a lover who could bring me incredible passion and pleasure without the cruelty. My heart began to yearn for more but I couldn’t tell if you had those feelings for me. Your reactions are so… physical!”

“I still don’t understand why I react the way I do with you Zoe. It doesn’t happen with anyone else and it frightens me because it’s so unlike me! But whatever it is it doesn’t change my feelings for you. My feelings are mine.” Ed struggled to explain it to her and she kissed him once more. Her lips were so amazing. He felt that rush again and pulled back when his kiss began to get out of control. He groaned as he leaned away from her mouth. When he opened his eyes she was looking at him with such a happy grin he had to smile back.

He suddenly recalled Angie’s response to his confession of love and he closed his eyes. He wasn’t sure if he could survive another rejection, especially when his heart felt so raw.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“The reason I feel stupid for being so possessive of you is that I’m in love with Grace and others as well. Angie… she didn’t take my admitting I was in love with her so well. I understand her and I’ll understand if you feel like she does-”

“Ed! I love you too!” she exclaimed and smiled seeing his enormous relief. He pulled her against his chest and she listened to his heart beating strong and fast.

Suddenly he yawned widely and she heard that too. She giggled. “Tiempo para el sueño mi amor!”

Ed pulled back and blinked sleepily at her. “I don’t know what you said but it sounded so beautiful! Good night Zoe.”

She snuggled back against his chest feeling happier and more content than she had in years. “Good night Ed.”



Chapter 14

The police returned the next morning and took statements. As expected Ed’s recollection of the event was blurry at best. The cut on the back of his hand and the illegal knife and guns they’d seized was proof enough for the police he’d been attacked and had defended himself. The extreme lengths he’d gone to in his defense was… disturbing but Zoe explained that Ed didn’t get into fights and wouldn’t know how to so in his tipsy state he just… did his best. Just the same the officer handed Ed a summons to appear before a judge in the district courthouse. The judge would interview Ed and review the evidence to determine if further criminal charges would need to be laid. The officer assured then that the statements he’d taken from the witnesses painted the event as a very clear case of self-defence.

They learned that the prison’s doctors hadn’t been able to do much for Luis as the damage had been so severe. When the storm abated a medivac helicopter picked Luis up but odds were slim that he would keep his arms. Ed looked a little ill when he heard that and the officer felt better about Ed’s innocence for it.

Ed grabbed a shovel from the Inn and helped dig the cars in the parking lot out from their snowy tombs while Zoe watched from the warmth of the lobby. Ed made a lot of friends as he helped each motorist with a smile. Ed’s truck was at the far end of the lot and it took almost three hours to free them all. By the time Ed and Zoe got back on the highway then back to the city it was noon.

He planned to go right to work but he dropped Zoe off at Angie’s home first. Before she exited the truck she crawled up onto his lap and kissed him. Ed moaned at the sensual feel of her lips on his. Then his left hand was tangled in her thick hair and his right was squeezing her ass hard as his tongue probed the hot depths of her mouth. Ed pulled back from the kiss with an enormous effort of will. Zoe was panting and looking at his lips intensely.

“God! Zoe- I- I have to go- go to work!” Ed gasped. He slowly pulled his hands back.

Zoe nodded and pushed herself back from Ed onto the bench seat. They saw movement and realized Angie had been outside and saw them.

Ed’s joy collapsed when he caught the uncomfortable look on Angie’s face as she turned to go back inside. Zoe looked between them and remembered what Ed had said about Angie. She’d seen the troubled expression on her friend’s face and now she saw the pain on Ed’s.

“I’d better get moving. You have a good day Zoe. I- I’ll see you at the Christmas party on Friday.” Ed said in a subdued voice. He recalled the party was here at Angie’s and worried about how that was going to be.

Zoe felt tears rising in her eyes hearing his pain. She had to get out of the truck before he saw them and thought he was responsible for them. He didn’t deserve the extra pain. She nodded and slid from the truck and pushed the door closed. With a wave she ran to the front door. She heard his truck pulling away and she took off her coat. She needed to get out of these clothes but first she wanted to talk with Angie. She marched through the house and found the blond in the kitchen making lunch.

“Welcome back!” Angie said with a strained smile. “That was one hell of a goodbye kiss! I take it the prison visit went well?”

Zoe struggled to find the words to respond to the false cheer but she blanked out. Then words popped into her head.

“We got snowed in and had to stay at a local inn. Luis Ramos showed up.” Zoe stated.

Angie cried out in shock when Zoe mentioned Luis. She’d heard the horror stories and saw the pictures of the injuries Zoe had suffered at his hands. Zoe’s current look was the result of multiple painful cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries from those days.

“He was surprised to see us there but he enjoyed telling us that he was going to kill us.” Zoe was shaking with reaction as she relived the moments. Angie moved forward to comfort her but Zoe held up her hand and she stopped.

“Ed saved my life last night.”

Angie blinked, confused. Ed? What could such a sweet man have done against such a psychopath-

“Ed pulled his arms off.” Zoe answered Angie’s unasked question.

Angie cried out in surprise and put her hands over her mouth. Her eyes were wide and shocked.

She wanted Angie to think about what Ed had done for her and the potential cost. “Ed has a summons to appear before a judge to see if criminal charges should be brought against him.” She didn’t bother to mention the cop’s opinion that it was a formality. She’d let Angie sweat.

With that she spun and ran up the stairs to get cleaned up. She ignored Angie’s shrieks to come back and give her more detail. Hurt Ed would she? Let her sweat.

-=-

Ed got to work late and pushed through the door into the lobby still wearing the clothes from the previous night. He had a scowl on his face from worry. He was so late!

Lydia, Mr. Drakos’ daughter and the office’s dispatch/receptionist/human resources officer looked up with a smile. The smile froze on her face when she saw the tall mountain of masculinity marching up to her desk.

“Good day Lydia.” Ed rumbled in his fatigue. It had been a tiring morning.

“Ed?” she mumbled, her mouth hanging open.

“Yeah, sorry I didn’t have time to change into my coverall. I just got back from visiting the penitentiary. We got snowed in last night and had to stay overnight. We ran into some trouble in the bar and I hurt a bad man, I think he’s going to lose his arms. I had to shovel the cars out this mor- …ning. Sorry. I guess I’m babbling. Still tired.” Ed refocused on Lydia and she was staring at him with her mouth open. He reached over and lifted her jaw and she snapped out of her shock.

Lydia was seriously impressed with Ed’s new look! His story of getting into a fight in a bar was cute as was the exaggeration of the man losing his arms. That was a dead giveaway that he really didn’t know how to tell a tall tale. She gave herself a shake and smiled at him.

“Nice coat!” she said.

He smiled and modeled it for her and her grin got wider. This was the sweet Ed she knew. He flipped open the lapels and an envelope fell out of his inner pocket onto the floor. He picked it up and frowned. He opened it up and flattened out the papers on her counter.

“Oh yeah, I’m going to need to book a day off in January to go to the courthouse to speak to the judge about the man I hurt. The police officer thinks it will be ok even though I hurt the man so bad. Can we book the date now?” Ed asked.

Lydia picked up the papers and saw it was a court summons. A real court summons. She read the date and pencilled it onto her notepad to enter it later into the office calendar. Her grin was gone as her shock returned. It was real!

Ed tucked the papers back into the envelope and put it back into the inside pocket of his coat.

“Dad… dad wants to see you.” Lydia mumbled as she took in his new dark look. Sweet Ed? Dangerous Ed! Suddenly her date tonight with Julian, an actual lawyer, seemed dull in comparison. Why had she overlooked Ed again?

He nodded to her and walked down the hall to Mr. Drakos’ office. Lydia watched him all the way.

He looked in the door and the old gentleman was on the phone but he looked up and smiled. He waved at Ed to enter, pointed to the door to get Ed to close it, and gestured to the chair across his desk. Ed sat in it and waited. He yawned mightily and his boss caught the motion.

Drakos ended the call and smiled at Ed. He noticed the fatigue and recalled how hard he had been working Ed in the past few weeks. He felt bad about that but Ed had become such an integral part of his business and he was so good at what he did. Now he got to reward him. He opened his side drawer and pulled out a thick envelope.

“Ed, I just wanted to let you know there will be a bonus in your next paycheque. It’s a Christmas bonus and all the government taxes have been deducted so it isn’t as high as you deserve.” He shook the envelope. “This is the fun Christmas bonus. This one is for your ‘above and beyond’ efforts this year. The people we work for, who will remain nameless in this conversation, put together this bonus for you. This is not to be reported in your income tax.” He handed Ed the envelope.

Ed looked inside and his eyes opened wide in shock. There had to be at least ten thousand dollars in there! He looked at his boss in surprise.

“That’s just between us. No mention of it to any of the others. Everyone got a little extra for the amazing year we’ve had but we don’t mention it to each other. Is that clear?” Drakos instructed. Ed smiled and nodded. This would go a long way for Grace’s education!

“I know you’ve been putting in a lot of hours these past few weeks. I want you to head home now, you look a little tired, and you’re off until next Tuesday, right?” Ed smiled and nodded. “Have yourself a Merry Christmas Ed and thank you very much for your excellent work!”

“Merry Christmas Mr. Drakos! Thank you for being such a wonderful mentor and boss!” Ed said with a grin. They stood and shook hands. Ed tucked the envelope away and made his way back out to the lobby.

Before he got there he heard the rattle of a chair suddenly being pushed back and Lydia was kneeling on her desk leaning over the counter. She was holding something over her head as she rested her chest on her other arm on the counter. She had a nervous smile on her face and she was looking up. Ed glanced up and saw it was a piece of mistletoe. He grinned at her and she began to giggle. Before she could prepare he leaned forward and took her face between his hands and kissed her sensually, stroking her lips with his but no tongue, and she swooned.

“Have a Merry Christmas Lydia!” Ed said to her as he pulled back.

“You too… Ed!” she sighed with a dreamy smile.

He went back out to his truck and drove home. He was going to take a shower then a nap! As he pulled into the driveway he saw Angie’s Land Rover parked there.

Ed pulled into his spot in the garage and went in the side door. As he hung up his duster coat by the back door he heard voices in the kitchen so he kicked off his boots and let his feet carry him there. Rachel, Zoe, and Angie were sitting at the kitchen table. All three women looked up as he entered and all three stood up but Zoe reached out to Rachel and snagged her arm before she could move forward. She didn’t stop Angie though and suddenly Ed had his arms full of a wonderfully soft blond.

“Ed, oh my god Ed! Are you ok?” she cried.

“I- I am now.” Ed said, tightening his arms around her and letting himself bask in the glow of her concern for him. She felt so good in his arms. She tilted her head back to see him and he did the same. Then her mouth was on his, hungry for his kiss, and he was healed. The pain he’d been carrying washed away and tears escaped from his eyes.

When she pulled back she saw his face was wet and her expression became concerned. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

Ed’s voice was rough with emotion. “Nothing, I’m sorry. It just… It feels so good to have you back in my arms. I thought- I thought I’d lost you forever.”

Angie’s heart ached at the pain and relief in his voice and she pulled him tight as her own tears burst forth. They held each other as they cried and soon Rachel and Zoe were there hugging them both.

It took a bit but they finally managed to get control of their emotions. Zoe and Rachel guided them back to the kitchen table and Ed snagged a napkin to wipe his eyes. He handed one to Angie as well and she smiled gently as she took it from his hand.

“You have to see a judge about the… violence of your response?” Angie asked Ed, her brows drawn together in worry.

“Yes, I’ve booked a day off in January for the summons. The police officer said it was a formality as all of the evidence showed it was self-defence.” Ed replied calmly.

Angie’s head whipped around to look at Zoe who had the most innocent look on her face. “You! You led me to believe Ed could go to jail for defending you!”

“Actually I said nothing of the sort. I merely mentioned he would go to court to see if criminal charges should be brought against him. I just left out the part about it being unlikely.” Zoe smiled. Rachel was wearing an enormous grin though she covered it with her hand to stifle a snort. She knew exactly what Zoe was up to and she loved her friend for doing it before she had the chance.

Angie’s mouth was working but no words came out. Finally she managed to squeak one out.

“Why?”

“You needed to be honest about your feelings for Ed! Especially to yourself! Ed’s been nothing but honest about his feelings for you!” Zoe barked at her friend. “Loving him and being loved in return does not diminish what you had with Danny. Maybe that kind of love comes once in a lifetime but it’s not the only kind of love and every kind should be treasured!”

Angie looked ashamed. Ed reached over and stroked her cheek. “Enough.” he said gently. “No more angry words. If Angie can find a tiny place in her heart for me I’m happy. I don’t want to replace her husband. That was magical! I would have loved to have met him. He sounds like an awesome man.”

Angie’s eyes teared up again and she held Ed’s palm against her cheek. “Danny would have really liked you too.”

Ed’s stomach chose that moment to announce its displeasure at being so empty.

The women all laughed at his embarrassed blush.

Rachel stood up and patted his shoulder on the way by. “I’ll make you a sandwich.”

“Could I have two?” he asked.

“Yes, you can have two.” She turned back and gave him a quick kiss on the mouth. He smiled in surprise at her and she skipped out of his reach to make him lunch. She felt like a kid again.

Angie took Ed’s hand and got his attention. He was like a big kid sometimes. Once he was looking at her she fixed her eyes on his.

“How badly did you hurt Luis?” she asked carefully.

Ed’s eyes slid away from hers as a look of discomfort passed over his features. “I heard I pulled his arms off but I don’t recall… exactly. I don’t even know why I decided to do that. My head was hurting pretty bad so I had a fair amount to drink. I was also hungry and tired. Then he said he was going to hurt Zoe… again.”

Something feral flashed behind his eyes. Zoe and Angie sucked in a quiet breath and shared a look.

“I couldn’t let him do that. So I stopped him. That’s all I really remember,” Ed shrugged looking at the tabletop. Angie looked over at Zoe.

“While Ed was out shoveling this morning I got to talk with the cop. He had the medical report and since he knew Luis raped me he shared it with me. Luis’ wrist bones were completely shattered. His elbows were dislocated. His shoulders were dislocated and there was a considerable amount of soft tissue and vascular tearing in both arms especially at the shoulder joints.” Angie and Rachel were listening intently and Ed was trying not to listen at all as he felt queasy. “Six broken ribs and a cracked sternum. Luis is going to lose his arms. They’ll have to amputate both at the shoul-”

Ed was up and racing for the small washroom. He heaved over the toilet until he became aware of soft hands rubbing his back. As he sat back a cool, damp facecloth wiped his face and he mumbled a thank you.

“I’m sorry Ed. I should have spared you the details.” Zoe said from the doorway where she stood with Angie.

Rachel was kneeling next to Ed and handed him a glass of water. “Rinse and spit then drink the rest.”

He looked at her fondly and she gestured for him to do it, though she had the hint of a smile on her lips.

Once Ed had himself sorted out he went back to the table and Rachel finished making him lunch. His stomach settled down so he was able to eat. While he ate his sandwiches Rachel brought out a vegetable stick tray with dip and the others nibbled at that and talked about the party. Ed remembered something. He waited for a moment to inject a comment into the conversation. Finally he raised his hand and they looked at him with grins.

“Are we talking too much Edward?” Rachel asked.

“No, I’d just like to say something,” he replied.

“The floor is yours,” she grinned.

“I met Victoria Rutledge at the prison last night. Her family has shunned her. No one visited her in prison. Her daughters are in England with her parents. Her lawyer managed to get her out of prison and she’ll be released Christmas day. She has no one to go home to. I- I invited her to join us. I hope you don’t mind.”

Rachel looked a little upset at first but reined it in and nodded. Angie also nodded to Ed. “That’s a very nice thing you did. Of course she’s welcome.”

Ed finished his lunch and by the end he was fading. He stood up and put his plate in the dishwasher and gave each of the ladies a kiss as he announced he was off to take a shower and a nap. He slogged up the stairs and walked into his room. He closed the door and sighed, looking at the bed. Soon.

He walked into his washroom and brushed his teeth. Then he pulled off his clothes which went directly into the bin. He loved his shower. He loved the room Rachel let him use but he especially appreciated the shower as the one he’d used back in Shirley’s basement had been so small! He got the water running nice and hot and turned on the overhead rain-shower showerhead. The hot water was so good and he felt his muscles soaking in the heat and begin to relax. He hadn’t realized how tense he’d been.

He closed his eyes and just stood there for a few minutes enjoying the pure sensual experience.

He started when he felt a soft body press against his back. The soft tits were pressing against his back and lips were gently kissing his shoulders. He peered over his shoulder and saw wet, white blond hair. Angie.

He tried to turn but her arms tightened around his chest.

“I want you to know how sorry I am Ed for putting you through that pain. I was so confused. Love meant one thing to me. I realize now how wrong I was. I was willing to deny myself love to protect an ideal that didn’t need protection. I- I love you Ed.”

Ed wouldn’t be denied any longer. He turned in her arms and took her face between his hands. His mouth found hers, her lips soft, willing and hungry. His tongue caressed hers and he sucked it gently into his mouth and she clung to him as she moaned.

His hands moved down to squeeze her firm ass cheeks and she ground herself against him.

He pulled back from the kiss and moved his mouth down to her tits, sucking the nipples into his mouth and thrashing them with his tongue.

“Oh FUCK, ED! YES, that feels- AHHHH!’

He gently scraped his teeth over her areolas and tugged on her stiff nipples with his teeth. Angie ground her pelvis against his, feeling his thick cock pressing against her. Fuck he felt so hot!

Ed suddenly knelt before Angie and pressed his mouth to her pussy.

“FUUUUUUCCCKKK! OH FUCK! ED! GEEZUS ED! OH! NNNNNNNGGGG!!!!” she wailed as he sank two thick fingers into her wet channel and sucked on her lower lips. Her fingers went into his hair as she held him tight against her while he pumped his fingers into her.

Ed looked up and was entranced by Angie’s raw beauty as she looked down into his eyes while she gasped and shook through her rapture. Her tight stomach muscles were rippling and trembling from the waves of pleasure shooting through her nerves. He could tell she was getting close.

He slipped his fingers out and ran them quickly over his stiff cock. He pulled his mouth back and Angie’s look became desperate. Ed stood and lifted her with his hands under her ass. She didn’t even have time to gasp before Ed’s cock found its mark and drove into her. He reached bottom in one stroke and she threw her head back as the sensation overwhelmed her.

Ed lifted Angie and slammed her back down, his pelvis slapping hers wetly. He sped up his motions as he felt his body ramping up for a release.

“AAAHH! AAAHH! FUUHH! NNNGG! FAAAA!” Angie cried out each time their bodies slapped roughly together. Ed was growling with his need for her. His movements sped up again and Angie felt like she was losing touch with her body as her mind began to float on a cloud of energy.

When Ed leaned Angie’s back against the cold tiles she shrieked in shock and her mind returned to her body fast. Ed’s hips began to drive up into Angie in short quick strokes like a machine. This position allowed Ed to free up a hand to squeeze her large breast and gently roll and tug on her nipple.

“ED! ED! ED! ED! ED! ED! ED! FUCK I’M CUMMING!!! I’M CUMMING! OH GEEZUS! CUMMING! ED! ED! OHFUCKOHFUCKOHFUUUUUUCK!!!” Angie cried out and her legs shook uncontrollably as she gushed through an intense orgasm.

Ed’s climax crashed over his senses and he tried to hold himself as still as he could as his body twitched and ground against her.

Both sagged and breathed hoarsely after their bodies finally finished their surges.

Ed carefully lifted Angie clear and she hissed as her abused flesh protested. Ed’s cock was looking a little raw as well. He gently set her back on her feet but her legs wouldn’t support her so he carried her under the spray and they rinsed off. Ed shut off the water and they stepped out onto the carpet. He wrapped a towel around her and sat her on the toilet. He dried himself off as she rubbed the towel over her body weakly. She looked as tired as he did.

“I think we could both use a nap,” he suggested and she nodded with a smile. Once she was dry he lifted her in his arms once more and carried her to his bed. He used her feet to push the comforter down as she giggled at his efforts then he laid her down on the mattress. He moved to the other side and climbed in under the covers as well. He pulled her close and she sighed as she felt his body touching hers. Ed wanted to ask Angie where Rachel and Zoe had gone but before he could she was asleep and he wasn’t far behind.

-=-

Ed woke suddenly feeling a soft hand caressing his cheek. He was gasping for breath and his body felt like it was shaking apart. Something about that flared a horrifying image in his mind and he cried out again.

“Shhh, Ed! It’s ok. It was just a bad dream! Shhhh!” a soft voice whispered to him.

He panted for breath and let his muscles slowly relax. His surroundings came back to him. His bed. His bedroom. Angie lying next to him with compassion and love glowing in her eyes.

“It’s over, Ed. The nightmare is over.”

Ed’s tormented mind drew him back to the moment he’d crippled Luis. The feel of the bone fragments grinding in his strong grip. The sickening sensation of tearing and popping ligaments and ripping muscle tissue. The sudden give of bones snapping under his boot. It all suddenly rushed back to him and he shuddered and shook as cold flashes rushed down his spine. Everything clouded by the booze and suppressed in his mind from that moment had been faithfully recorded in his memory. He recalled the depth and magnitude of the rage he’d felt when he’d punished Luis. It felt alien and it frightened him. Deeply.

She knew he was reliving the attack in the bar. She knew what he needed. “There was no other choice Ed. You protected Zoe. Luis would have killed you both. I’m so proud of you. We all are. We love you.”

He clung to Angie, pressing his face to her soft bosom as he shivered, tears running down his cheeks. She held him, running her fingers through his hair and felt him slowly relaxing until he slipped back into an exhausted sleep at last.



Chapter 15

Matinee Movie Day on Christmas Eve was a tradition for Ed and Grace. He’d been a little nervous about Grace being able to do it this year with her hectic course schedule but she assured him that school was out and her assignments were caught up so she was free for the day.

They’d picked a brainless, over the top action brain candy movie as that had also become a tradition in recent years. Ed paid for the tickets and walked Grace to the concession stand to load up on salty, sugary treats. It still bothered Ed how much he was charged for the junk food but the smile on Grace’s face made up for it.

They cuddled together after lifting the armrest between their seats and prepared for their game of hit-or-miss when the previews began.

“I told you Monster Trucks in Outer Space was going to be a flop!” Grace said smugly.

“The lack of an audience with a sophisticated enough palate for such a fine movie is not the movie’s fault.” Ed said to her with his nose in the air.

Grace busted out into a bark of laughter causing her to be shushed from multiple spots in the theatre. Ed grinned at her look of outrage.

“The movie hasn’t even begun! Wankers!” she yelled.

Ed scrunched himself down a little though he was too big to really hide himself. Wait a minute. He looked over at Grace.

“Since when do you say ‘Wankers’?”

Grace smiled at Ed’s look of surprise. “It’s become a new favorite. A bunch of us in class have adopted it. That and a few other phrases.” She turned her face back to the screen. “One of our group is a recent immigrant from Jolly Ol’ England. Lawrence Phipps. He’s a really funny guy and he has an awesome accent! Very smart and very charming,” she teased, watching Ed from the corner of her eye. Her smile dropped when she saw Ed’s look of despair.

“Ed! I was just teasing you! I have no romantic feelings for him!” she said placing her hand on Ed’s arm.

“I’m sorry Grace. I’ve just been very confused lately. My emotions are all over the place and I don’t understand how I’m supposed to behave or deal with these insecurities. In some ways it was simpler when I was living with you and Shirley and I was secretly in love with you. My simple brain could deal with that situation. Being in love with one woman, even when it wasn’t returned, I could deal with that.”

“Ed you know it was returned!” she interrupted.

He nodded. “Yes, but at the time I didn’t know. My point is that… the math was simpler then. One man. One woman.” A troubled look passed over his face. “Now I find myself in love with six women and I have no clue how to behave.” He gazed into Grace’s eyes. “I just had a terrible surge of jealousy when you were talking about the fancy British man and at the same time my mind is screaming at me that I have no right to expect you to be faithful to me. But the idea of you being with another man-” Ed’s eyes flared and he closed them tightly. Grace felt a shudder pass through his body.

“Ed! Shhh! I’m not with him. I don’t want to be with him! I want you! I’m in love with you!” Grace pressed her forehead against the side of his head and whispered to him, feeling him slowly begin to relax.

“How can I be so jealous? Where do I get off expecting any of you to not find a better mate? Someone smart and funny, who can have smart and funny conversations and challenge your minds!” Ed’s emotions were going off the rails again.

Grace could see Ed wasn’t going to enjoy the movie so she stood and picked up her drink and popcorn. “Get your stuff and follow me.”

Ed scrambled to follow as Grace left the theatre. He found her standing by a table in the snack bar seating area. She pointed to a seat and once he was in it she asked him for the tickets to the movie. She got them exchanged for the next showing then sat down next to him.

Grace took his hands in hers. “A woman doesn’t mind when her man gets a little jealous but she also expects her man to trust her not to do anything to jeopardize their relationship. Being friends with another man and some innocent flirting is not a sign that a woman is looking for a new boyfriend. That’s just normal behavior and it makes people feel good. Going beyond flirting means something entirely different and that trouble usually begins with a communication problem. I can’t speak for the others but I’m not interested in other men. I’m in love with you and you’re all I need. I know you’ll be honest with me and you haven’t hidden the fact that you are in love with the others. Loving them doesn’t mean you love me less, does it?” Ed shook his head with wide eyes and she smiled. “I didn’t think so.” She stroked his cheek with her hand and he smiled. “When did you start worrying about this?”

“When I was in New York with Angie and she told me I couldn’t be in love with her because I was in love with you. That got me to wondering if the others felt that way, even a little bit, and thinking about how greedy I must seem. I felt really bad but I can’t help what my heart feels. I’d never lie to you or hide something from you or the others but I made Angie so unhappy by telling her. I didn’t know what to do. I felt so much better when I talked with you and Rachel when I got back but I was still really sorry I’d hurt Angie.” Grace smiled at Ed and kissed his hands.

“When I took Zoe to the prison I was worried how I’d react around her, especially after what happened with Angie. You know how confused Zoe makes me. When that bad man started to make her scared and sad I… I got really possessive of her. Like I just did when you mentioned that guy at your school. Only with Zoe I was drunk and he was going to kill us.” Ed shuddered as he flashed through the memory. Grace squeezed his hands to comfort him and it did.

“This jealousy and possessiveness… I never knew I could feel like that. I don’t like how they make me feel. I don’t like the kind of person they make me feel like I’m becoming when they get in my head.”

“Everyone feels those emotions from time to time. Understanding them and being on guard against them is natural. I feel that way about you too but I know you love me and I’ve been able to set aside the jealousy when you are with our friends. Only because I know how strong our love is.” Grace said gently.

Ed scooped her up onto his lap and squeezed her tight. He kissed her tenderly and she moaned softly in his arms. When he pulled back from the kiss he rested his forehead against hers.

“Please tell me you’ll never leave me! I need you so much!” he whispered to her.

“Oh Ed! You have me for life!” she gasped.

He hugged her and they sat like that for a while just enjoying the intimacy of their bond. He felt so safe in Grace’s arms. She could explain anything to him without him feeling like an idiot.

Grace loved Ed’s big arms wrapped around her. It felt like the strongest armor imaginable. Recalling what he did to that creep Luis just made her feel safer.

Finally Grace slipped to her feet, picked up her snacks and pulled Ed over to the games area. They had some time to kill until the next showing.

-=-

After a largely forgettable movie they decided to finish their day with dinner at the restaurant they went for their first date. Not surprisingly it was very busy so they wandered through the mall, trying not to get trampled by the last minute desperate buyers.

“Grace, I have a terrible confession to make,” Ed said with a sigh.

She looked over at him with a smirk as she knew he couldn’t keep any deep, dark secrets. “What is it?”

“My Christmas shopping sucked this year! I didn’t get a chance to get any serious shopping done. Work was so busy and when I did get to shop in New York every place Angie took me was so expensive I couldn’t afford anything! I got little things but I’m ashamed with how little I managed to get.”

Grace laughed at his pout and he looked at her in surprise. “Oh Ed, I wouldn’t worry too much about the presents,” she said giving him a sweet smile.

“What do you mean?”

Grace just grinned and hugged him. She couldn’t explain it in this busy shopping center.

They passed the jewellery store where he bought her the earrings. As they gazed inside casually window shopping with no real intent something caught Ed’s eye again and he pulled Grace inside. The same sales clerk was standing behind the counter as last time. He leaned over and said something to her quietly and she gave him a smile and nod.

“What are you up to Ed?” Grace asked him, raising an eyebrow.

It was Ed’s turn to just grin and hug her. She caught on it was payback so she just returned his smirk. When the clerk placed the ring box on the counter the light caught the large round cut diamond in the center of a ring of smaller diamonds and Grace’s face went still with shock.

Ed beamed a smile at the clerk. This was exactly the reaction he was hoping for. He looked at the price and choked a little but he still had the envelope of cash on him so it wouldn’t be a problem.

“Ed…”

He looked at her. “Yes, Grace.”

“What are you doing?” Her voice was cracking as her eyes couldn’t leave the ring. She was trapped by the brilliance of the stones.

“I remember we talked about getting married and you told me flat out that you didn’t believe in marriage-”

“I DON’T-” she interrupted.

“That doesn’t mean you can’t wear a pretty ring! All of the others have beautiful rings and I’ve seen you admiring them. I want you to have one. One as beautiful as you are to me. Please accept this.” He lifted the ring from the box and took her shaking hand. He managed to hold her still enough to slide the ring onto her finger. The band was just a little loose but they could have it resized later. It wasn’t so loose it would fall off.

Grace made a soft little sigh noise and Ed knew she was in love with the ring. It looked perfect on her lovely hand. Her eyes finally slipped away from the stones to see the price tag clipped to the box. She squeaked.

Her eyes shot to his. “ED! You can’t seriously spend this much money on me-”

“Ring it up,” Ed said to the clerk. “I’ll be paying cash.”

The woman looked at Ed in surprise and smiled. “Very good sir, then I can offer you a 10% cash discount.”

Ed smiled gratefully. “Thank you!”

Grace was speechless and her mouth hung open.

The clerk returned promptly with the total and he counted out thirty-one one hundred dollar bills. The woman accepted the money and took them back to her cash station.

Ed reached over and lifted Grace’s chin to close her mouth. “Maybe one day you’ll change your mind about getting married. Maybe not. It doesn’t change the fact that I want to be with you until we are both old and grey. I love you Grace. More than I knew was possible.”

Grace leapt into his arms and kissed him fiercely. Her arms were wrapped around his neck as his arms were around her back holding her tightly against him.

The clerk was standing on the other side of the counter with tears in her eyes and his receipt in her hand.

“BBZZZZZZZZTTTTTTTT!!!”

Ed began to chuckle against Grace’s lips and she snorted. He set her back on her feet and turned to the clerk.

“At least this time you got to the kiss before the buzzer,” the woman grinned, handing him the receipt and a small silver paper folder. “This is the diamond appraisal for the ring. Keep it safe as you need it for insurance claims.”

“Thank you!” Ed said accepting the folder. He tucked the receipt inside. It went into the pocket with his remaining cash.

“Good luck you two!” the woman said giving them both wide smiles.

Ed walked Grace out of the shop and guided her all the way back to the restaurant. She couldn’t tear her eyes away from the ring and how it looked on her finger. They walked up to the hostess desk and handed in the buzzer. They were directed to the other side of the desk. Ed couldn’t get over how busy the place was. It was a madhouse and he heard the hostess telling someone there were no tables available for the rest of the night.

“Are you sure? It’s our anniversary and it would mean so much,” said a very distinctive voice.

Ed spun around and a very beautiful dark skinned woman looked over at him. “Mishka?” he blurted. Tall and slim, she was wearing her gorgeous long straight ebony hair loose tonight. She was every bit as lovely as the first day he’d seen her. Her expressive brown eyes above high cheekbones and a strong, distinctive nose were currently showing her surprise at seeing him there. Tonight she was wearing a dark red lipstick on her full lips which made her white teeth gleam!

Then he saw Heather standing at her shoulder. “Heather!” Equally tall but much fairer in complexion she had blue eyes and long wavy white blond hair. Her smile showed perfect teeth that were no longer covered by braces. One change she’d claimed she was going to do had obviously not happened. Her beautiful large nose was still in place and considering Mishka’s was similar in scope Ed understood why she’d finally come to accept it.

Grace heard the familiar names and finally lifted her head. She rushed around Ed’s body and grabbed Heather into a hug then hugged Mishka tight as well. Heather was gushing about how incredible Grace looked. They noticed her slimmer outline.

“Your table is ready,” the hostess said to Ed.

“Is it for two or could it fit four?” he asked.

“It’s a large booth. It seats four,” she replied, looking impatient.

Ed looked at Mishka. “Will you join us?” The woman seemed unsure but she finally nodded. The hostess grabbed two more menus and led them to the booth. Ed slid in one side and Grace slid in next to him. Mishka sat across from Ed and Heather got in across from Grace who was all grins.

“Is this your annual Christmas Eve movie day?” Heather asked.

Grace nodded, bursting with the need to show off the ring but holding back until the time was right.

Mishka looked at Ed curiously so he answered. “Grace and I see a matinee movie on Christmas Eve every year. What’s this I hear about an anniversary for you two?” He grinned at her look of embarrassment. Heather was grinning mischievously.

“I must confess. I lied. I was just hoping they would take pity and find us a table.” Mishka blushed and Heather held her hand under the table.

The waitress arrived and everyone ordered drinks. Ed was surprised that Grace stuck with water. He was sure she’d go for the margarita like Heather. Mishka didn’t drink and Ed was driving so he stuck with the lemonade.

“OH MY GOD!!! LET ME SEE YOUR HAND!” Heather suddenly yelled pulling Grace’s left across the table to stare at the lovely ring. Heather lifted her head and gaped at the two across from her. “You’re engaged?!?”

“No! No, we’re just in love and want to spend the rest of our lives together. I’ve told you how I feel about marriage. It’s not for me.” Grace said with a happy smile on her face. Heather saw that Ed was equally happy so she was glad he hadn’t been hurt that Grace wasn’t the marrying kind. She sighed as she looked at the ring then blushed as Mishka was looking at her strangely.

Mishka took Grace’s hand and looked at the ring. She thought it was very pretty and Grace was obviously completely in love with it. She squirmed a little and looked at Ed. “You have very good taste in jewellery!”

Even Ed could tell Mishka was uncomfortable about something. “Thank you. I hope you don’t mind me asking but should I not have asked you to join us tonight? You seem… unhappy about something.”

Grace looked over at Ed in surprise. He’d picked up on something she’d missed entirely. But then all she’d been looking at was her ring. She studied Mishka’s expression and there was nervousness there. “I didn’t offend you by expressing my feelings about marriage did I?”

Mishka shook her head. “No. Everyone should feel comfortable about expressing their beliefs. Every relationship is different. Some are less conventional than others. Sometimes some traditional aspects are still… appreciated.” She glanced nervously at Grace’s ring then over at Heather whose eyes had returned to the diamonds.

“How about you Heather? What are your feelings about marriage?” Ed asked with an open smile, unaware of the tension across the table. Grace winced.

Heather glanced at Mishka and her gaze was trapped by the intense look in the dark beauty’s brown eyes.

“I’m… I’m for marriage. Doesn’t have to be the whole church thing but... I like… tradition.”

Mishka smiled at Heather and Grace saw some tension leaving her body. The electricity flowing between the ladies across the table was almost tangible.

“That’s how I feel as well. I wasn’t sure how you felt about it though.” Mishka said softly to Heather.

“Oh, I can see myself getting married one day,” Heather replied dreamily.

“Do- do you think this summer would be too soon?” Mishka said and placed a small box on the table between them.

Heather’s eyes went wide with surprise. She began to gasp.

“Breathe Heather and open the box.” Grace said with a grin.

Heather had tears in her eyes so she wiped them with her napkin and picked up the box with trembling hands. She pushed it open and shrieked. “OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!”

Mishka was openly crying with joy and her smile was ear to ear. “Heather my love, will you marry me?”

“YES! YES! A MILLION TIMES YES!” Heather cried and pulled Mishka into a tight hug. She kissed her and rocked as they hugged again.

Ed and Grace were smiling and crying with big grins on their faces. The waitress came by and left the drinks. Grace indicated they needed more time and the woman slipped away.

Mishka lifted the ring from the box. The centre stone was a very large radiant cut diamond with two smaller radiant cuts on either side. Numerous smaller diamond surrounded the three stones and lined the white gold band. She slipped it on Heather’s finger and the woman began to hyperventilate once more.

“Oh my god! Mishka! It’s so beautiful! I love you so much!” Heather gushed once she got her breathing back under control. She looked into Mishka’s eyes unable to believe how blessed she was to have met her. She swung her eyes over to Ed. “All of this became possible because you were kidnapped!”

Ed laughed at the sudden odd direction the conversation had just taken. “What?!?”

Heather was getting excited again and Mishka just watched her with love in her eyes. “It’s true! If you hadn’t been kidnapped Grace wouldn’t have gone looking for you and she wouldn’t have picked me up after work to help find you!”

“You were the one who insisted on trying Mishka’s house first!” Grace pointed out with a grin.

Heather’s eyes went dreamy as she recalled that first meeting.

The waitress arrived back and everyone had a favorite so they ordered those and Ed ordered the loaded nachos for the table.

“Ed, we couldn’t finish our meals when we had the nachos before!” Grace laughed.

“But they’re so good! And we have two more people to share them with!” Ed exclaimed.

“Speaking of sharing, how would you two feel about being the best man and the maid of honor at our wedding?” Mishka asked.

“Ooo! Nice segue!” Heather said to Mishka with a grin and gave her a high five.

Grace looked at Ed and they nodded. “We’d be honored! Just let us know where and when,” Grace said.

“There won’t be too many people at the wedding. None of my family will acknowledge I’m alive.” Mishka said with a sad shrug.

“My mom won’t be there. She’s convinced Mishka is the devil and now that I’ve been poisoned I’m no better. She said she’d pray for me though!” Heather grinned.

Ed had a frown on his face. He didn’t understand. “How can your families behave like this?”

Mishka glanced at Grace who was patting his arm.

“You’re right, Ed. It’s not ok, but I’ll explain it later,” she said to him.

Ed nodded but still looked a little upset.

“Well you’ll have us and Rachel, Angie, Zoe, Stephanie and Carolyn. If you don’t mind kids I'm sure Stephanie and Carolyn would bring their kids.

Ed brightened up thinking of a wedding with kids running back and forth. “Oh! There’s also Victoria Rutledge. She’s being released from prison on Christmas Day and will be joining us at Angie’s.”

Mishka looked at Ed. “I don’t believe I’ve met Victoria… wait, isn’t she the one who shot her husband?”

Ed’s expression turned sad. “It’s true. She shot him but only after a lot of abuse from him. He was a very bad man! I hope she doesn’t become ‘the woman who shot her husband’. I’m sure she’s more than that.”

“I’m sorry, Ed. You’re absolutely right. I’ll do my best to see her as you do.” Mishka said contritely. He blushed and nodded with a small smile.

The nachos arrived and Ed’s smile grew. Everyone dug in and happy sounds were heard on both sides of the table.

“I’m curious about something but you don’t have to answer if it’s too personal a question,” Ed began.

Grace gave him a troubled look and Mishka and Heather shared a look. They’d received their fair share of rude questions regarding their relationship. They hadn’t expected one from Ed though.

“Why this restaurant and why tonight?” Ed finished.

Mishka and Heather both giggled with relief. “This is where we went on our first official date,” Heather answered getting a confirming nod from Mishka.

“Us too! Sort of,” Grace said with a shy smile at Ed. He smiled back as he remembered that night too.

Mishka continued. “I’ve wanted to ask Heather for weeks but I was just too nervous. I wasn’t sure how she would react to being asked to get married. Marriage is a hot button topic for gay couples. I desperately wanted to marry this beauty but I was afraid she’d be in the other camp. Dead set against marriage. I’ve been so busy at work I haven’t been able to find time to bring Heather here. Christmas Eve seemed perfect but I forgot to make reservations and we got here late. I might have chickened out again but for Ed asking us to join you two and asking Heather point blank the question that’s been haunting me for weeks. It was perfect. I admit to being a coward when it comes to doing or saying anything that might put our relationship at risk. You mean too much to me.” Mishka looked apologetically at Heather who lifted her lover’s hand to kiss her palm tenderly.

“Ed and I are guilty of keeping our true feelings hidden from each other for too long. If we’ve learned one thing it’s to keep the channels of communication open. Be open and honest and don’t keep secrets.” Grace said holding Ed’s hand.

They managed to finish off most of the nachos before their meals arrived and Grace looked at her plate with dismay. Then she turned and gave Ed an ‘I told you so’ look. He smiled sheepishly at her. They ate what they could. Grace saved space as she really wanted to try the cheesecake. Mishka and Heather followed her lead and the three boxed the rest of their meals and ordered some decadent desserts.

Ed wasn’t a big fan of sweets so he just finished his burrito and sat back feeling pleasantly stuffed.

“Oh my god! This is good cheesecake!” Grace sighed. She turned a stern eye on Ed. “How could you have let me miss this on our previous visits!” Ed chuckled as did the ladies across from them who were also blissfully consuming their own desserts.

The waitress returned and they asked for separate bills, Mishka insisting on picking up the nachos.

Once they settled the bills they bundled themselves into their coats and prepared to head out into a winter storm that had arrived while they were eating.

“Holy fuck Ed! That coat makes you look totally badass!” Heather gushed as he modeled his new leather duster. He smiled modestly.

Mishka looked at the storm raging and turned back to him. “Do you have winter tires on your truck?”

“No, but I’ll take it slow,” he replied.

Everyone hugged and Grace and Ed congratulated Mishka and Heather once more. Their faces were glowing with their love.

They headed out first with Ed shielding Grace from the worst of the wind on the way back to his truck. He got her inside and climbed in his side. They waved at Mishka and Heather who drove past then got themselves underway.

“The heater still broken in this heap?” Grace asked as she shivered.

“Hey… yes. There’s a blanket under the seat.” Ed replied.

Grace pulled it out and draped it over her legs.

The wind was blowing hard and visibility wasn’t good even with the wiper blades going full speed. Ed noticed the road was pretty slick so there may have been freezing rain earlier. He lost track of Mishka’s taillights as they were moving more assuredly on the route with her winter tires. Ed kept his speed down and made no sudden moves.

As he crested a small rise he felt their wheels lose grip on the road. He was only going 20mph on the 30mph side road but the downgrade and the ice underneath the truck allowed them to pick up speed.

“Ed?”

“We’re sliding. I have no traction at all. Hang on!” Ed called out.

The road ahead was clear of traffic and relatively flat. There was no real danger of hitting anything but they could slide off the road into the ditch. Luckily the ditches weren’t that deep but they were currently filled with deep fluffy snow so if they went in there they weren’t getting out.

“ED!” Grace screamed as the truck began to slide sideways towards the ditch.

He grabbed her hand as the back wheels caught some snow and spun them around in a graceful twirl.

With a mighty poof of snow the truck slipped off the road and plowed into a huge snowdrift. Ed looked over at Grace who seemed no worse for wear. The stop had been so cushioned by the snow it had almost been slow motion. He looked ahead and saw they were only two feet from hitting a utility pole. Beyond that he saw the bank he’d often use. They’d have a nice warm area to wait in when he called to be picked up. They couldn’t stay in the truck as it was too cold. He got the hazards blinking.

“Come on. The truck is stuck and we’ll have to call for a ride from the vestibule of the bank.”

Grace’s door was blocked by snow so she followed him out his and he picked her up off the seat and carried her down the road the three hundred feet to the parking lot of the bank. While she complained that she was capable of walking, she secretly enjoyed being in his strong arms.

Before they reached the entrance they heard the roaring sound of engine braking and looked back to the small hill. A semi pulling a tanker had come over the little hill at speed and the driver was desperately trying to slow down on the sheet of ice.

“Oh my god!” Grace breathed as she saw the truck begin to jackknife. It was still moving much too fast!

“Grace, we have to move! Grace!” Ed said as he pulled at her arm.

She was frozen, watching the big rig following the same path Ed’s truck had taken. Suddenly she was lifted off her feet as Ed hoisted her over his shoulder and ran for the shelter of the back of the bank. She could still see Ed’s truck, stuck in the snow as the semi bore down on it. The noise it made when the rig rolled right over it and crashed into the utility pole beyond it was deafening. Ed got them behind the shelter of the building so she missed the fireball when the pickup’s ruptured gas tank was ignited by sparks from downed power lines.

Ed quickly unzipped his coat and pulled Grace inside against his chest as he wrapped it around her.

A second colossal thump went off and they were tossed off their feet and pummeled with debris. Ed took the brunt of it as he curled his large body protectively around Grace.

When they got their wits back they felt the heat of the inferno as an enormous fireball curled and twisted up into the sky. Grace was lying on Ed’s chest toasty warm inside his jacket with his arms around her. She lifted her head clear to look around. This seemed like the safest place to stay for now. Luckily the snow seemed to be slowing too.

A few minutes later they saw Mishka’s car come to a stop and the two women jumped out. Mishka and Heather moved to stand before the car, holding each other, staring in shock and horror at the wreckage of Ed’s truck.

“OVER HERE!” Grace screamed but the noise from the tanker fire was too loud. They were also in the shadow of the bank. She got to her feet and checked herself. No injuries. She looked down at Ed and saw he was grimacing in pain. A thin piece of metal from the building was sticking out of his left calf. He was reaching for it but she stopped him.

“Leave it in! We don’t know if it cut something vital. I’ll get Mishka,” she yelled to be heard above the din. He sagged back and nodded.

Grace made her way out of the shadow and Heather spotted her immediately and screamed. Mishka jumped then both were running towards her.

“Where’s Ed!” Mishka yelled.

“He’s over here! He’s hurt!” Grace blurted and pulled them after her.

Mishka knelt and examined the wound. “It doesn’t look too bad but it’s good you left this in. We’ll get an ambulance and I’ll take care of this at the hospital.” She took her phone out and called it in.

“What happened?” Heather asked.

“Ice on the hill. Bad tires on my truck.” Ed gasped out.

“We slid off the road and got stuck in the snow. Ed got us to the bank and the truck came over the hill too fast and followed the same path right in over Ed’s truck. If the heater in the truck worked we would have been in it when the crash happened. As it was Ed got us behind the building before the explosion. He saved my life.” Grace knelt and kissed Ed. He would have enjoyed that more if his leg didn’t hurt so much.

Still, it was a really good kiss.



Chapter 16

Ed woke up in a hospital bed Christmas morning. Sunlight streamed in the window and he could see blue skies. He felt good. He felt really, really good! He looked around the room and it was a lovely room. There was a noise from the left so he looked and Mishka walked in with a smile on her face.

“Good morning Mishka. You look lovely as usual!” he said with a smile.

“I wish all my patients were so complimentary!” she beamed at him. She looked at his chart then walked up beside the bed and took his hand. “You were very, very lucky last night. Your heavy leather coat took most of the abuse so all you had were some shallow cuts, bruises and the one puncture on your calf. I took care of that last night. I was right, it missed anything important. You may have a little numbness there though. It might have cut a nerve,” she explained.

“I feel good! Whatever drugs you have dripping into my arm are making me feel… happy!” Ed grinned and Mishka giggled at him. “What?”

“That’s just a saline drip to keep you hydrated. The drugs we gave you wore off hours ago!” she said with a big smile. “No. I think what you have is a case of the ‘Christmas Morning Jollies’.”

Ed started to laugh. It felt so good!

When he settled down he noticed that Mishka had removed his I.V. “I’m discharging you now so Grace and the others can take you home. Heather and I will see you later this evening. I’d like you to take it easy on that leg. I’m prescribing you a cane to use for a week or two to take the stress off the leg when you walk. OK?” He nodded. “I’ll have the nurse bring you the cane. After she does you can get dressed. Wait for the orderly with the wheelchair to take you out. Alright?” He nodded again. “See you later.”

With that she left. Ten minutes later the nurse arrived with a black metal adjustable cane with a rubber handle and tip and brought him his clothes. He got dressed and only had to wait five minutes for the orderly to arrive. While he waited he tried out the cane and found his leg was a little weak from the injury.

He felt a little silly being pushed down the hallway in the wheelchair but all thoughts of embarrassment disappeared when he saw the smiling faces of the women he loved waiting for him. Their smiles warmed his heart. Once he stood Grace was in his arms and Rachel and Angie braced him. Everyone got a hug and he made it to the curb to climb into the passenger seat of Stephanie’s truck. Grace and Carolyn climbed in the back. Angie drove Rachel and Zoe and followed them home in her Land Rover. After they pulled into Rachel’s driveway Ed leaned over and gave Stephanie a kiss. She smiled dreamily at him afterwards.

“See you later,” he said and she nodded.

Rachel and Carolyn got out and helped Ed out. Carolyn tilted her face up with a smile and Ed kissed her tenderly as well.

“See you at the party!” she said as she slid into the truck next to Stephanie who was still watching Ed. As she pulled out of the driveway Angie pulled further in to drop Rachel off. Ed walked up to her window and tapped on it with his cane. The window came down. Ed leaned his face in and kissed her tenderly as she held his face in her hands. “I’m so glad you were ok!”

“A mere scratch, milady!” he said with a bad attempt at a British accent. Her pained smile told him how well he did. “Fine! I’ll leave the acting to the professionals,” he sighed theatrically and she grinned as she pushed his face back out her window.

He made his way to Zoe’s window and her eyes tracked him all the way. She leaned out the window and kissed him hard. He returned her passion with his hand in her hair. This time he didn’t take a grip but instead he just ran his fingertips against her scalp. Ed pulled back from the kiss and she moaned. Angie had to pull her in the window so she could raise it. She waved at Ed while Zoe pressed her fingers against the inside of the window as she stared at his mouth.

Grace and Rachel walked him back to and inside the house. He took off his coat and noticed the little tears and dents in the leather. “This coat did a great job of protecting us last night!” he said.

Grace suddenly shoved him against the wall. She had tears in her eyes. “WHY DID YOU OPEN YOUR COAT LAST NIGHT! YOU COULD HAVE BEEN KILLED!” she raged as she shook with reaction.

Ed stared at her in surprise. “I- I wanted to make sure you were safe. You were safer inside my coat with me!” he gasped.

Grace was suddenly pressed against his chest crying her heart out. Ed looked at Rachel for help and she gave him a sad smile. She indicated to Ed that he should hold her tight. When his arms wrapped around her Grace tried to push away and beat on his chest. Ed held her tight with Rachel’s hand on the outside of his arms, guiding him.

Grace cried and cried until her tears ran dry. Ed’s right leg was beginning to cramp from holding both him and Grace up.

“Can- can I sit down now?” he murmured.

Grace pulled herself together and braced him as Rachel took his other side. They got to the living room and gently settled him on the couch.

Pulling the ottoman up to the couch Grace sat on it and held his hand.

Rachel suddenly noticed the ring on Grace’s hand. She’d seen the band earlier but the stones must have been turned inwards then. “That’s a lovely ring! Oh-”

Grace took in the troubled look on Rachel’s face. “It’s not an engagement ring, Rachel. It’s just a lovely and thoughtful present from Ed so we could all have beautiful rings. I don’t need to marry Ed.”

Rachel looked embarrassed and Ed held out his hand. She knelt next to the sofa as she took his hand and he kissed her fingers. She gasped gently at the feel of his soft lips.

“I love you Rachel! I think next to Grace, I rely on you the most for helping me to understand how to get by day to day. All the stuff my brain isn’t smart enough to help me with. Grace knows how I feel about her. I would gladly give my life to protect her- No more tears!” he said to prevent a relapse of crying.

“We survived the little accident last night pretty well. Minus my truck that is. Not a problem though, I can take the bus.”

“We’ll talk about that later.” Rachel said.

Grace smiled at the stubborn look that surfaced in Ed’s eyes. Poor man didn’t know who he was dealing with.

“You rest here while I make some sandwiches for lunch. We are eating light as Dinner is going to be heavy at Angie’s.” Grace said as she stood and made her way to the kitchen.

Then it was just Grace and Ed.

“I didn’t mean to make you sad Grace. I just needed to keep you safe. You seemed kinda out of it last night. Standing there as the big truck was sliding out of control,” he said with concern.

“I was just stunned by how sudden it was and how we could have been in the pickup when it was crushed by the tanker truck. I saw us being killed before our lives together could actually begin. All of that was filling my head as I stood there…” Grace said quietly.

“All I had in my head was getting the building between you and the truck in case something bad happened. Once I got that done all I had in my head was getting you someplace safer, inside my coat with me between you and the building… in case something bad happened. I wasn’t sure if something bad was going to happen but I’m glad my head was empty enough to let me think about it,” Ed explained.

Grace smiled at him. “Me too.”

-=-

Rachel brought Ed and Grace over to Angie’s place a little early as she needed to help Angie with some of the prep.

Ed was wearing a pair of soft charcoal grey slacks, a crisp white dress shirt, a black tie, and a black cable knit sweater overtop. The black cane matched his outfit. Once they had him dressed Rachel and Grace stared at him with looks that said they wanted to rip it all off and devour him.

Rachel was wearing a stunning red dress with white sparkles that to Ed looked like snowflakes. He was mesmerized by the flurry of light surrounding her neckline. Or it could have been the amount of cleavage she was displaying. That was pretty spectacular too.

Grace was wearing a new dress she and Rachel had shopped for. It was black, Grace’s favorite color, but it had iridescent sequins sewn in a sweeping pattern around her curvy body. She glowed with joy at his enraptured look.

Angie greeted them at the door in an amazing white and silver glittering dress that clung to her body, showing off her sleek shape and emphasizing her abundant bosom.

Angie’s daughter Isabelle was there too wearing a cute Santa’s helper costume. She announced that was her role for the evening and led Grace and Ed to the family room making sure they were comfortable and had drinks while Rachel went with Angie to help her.

“Are you going back to school?” Grace asked Isabelle.

“Yeah but I think I’m going to switch to teacher’s college. I’ve discovered I enjoy working with kids.” Isabelle said with a smile.

“Was that because of the babysitting you’ve been doing?” Ed asked in surprise.

Isabelle nodded. “Yes, something good came from mom’s probation period. I found my true calling.” She smiled at Ed’s happy expression. When he pushed himself to his feet and pulled her into a big hug she squeaked.

The doorbell saved her as she had to go answer it but her face was as red as her costume. Grace stood as well and gave him a grin as she shook her head.

Isabelle returned with Dale and Tristan Grant who both smiled widely when they saw Ed and Grace. Their smiled turned to dismay as they saw the cane.

“What happened to you?” Dale asked as he shook Ed’s hand.

“We had a little car accident last night,” Ed replied.

Grace snorted as she finished hugging Tristan. “Little car accident he says.”

Ed pulled Tristan to him in a tight hug. When he pulled back he looked at her in concern as she’d trembled a little in his arms. She just smiled and moved over to take Dales arm. “There’s more to this story?” she asked him to deflect his attention.

Rolling his eyes, Ed described the events of the night before as Dale and Tristan looked back in shock. Grace finished the story, giving her side from the time Ed was taken away in the ambulance when the police and firetrucks arrived and moved them all farther away from the burning truck. The driver of the semi was the only fatality in the accident.

“It was a damn good thing the truck’s heater was broken!” Dale said when the story was finished.

“That’s what I said!” Grace agreed.

“Well, more than the heater’s busted now. I’ll be taking the bus for a little while.” Ed shrugged.

“No Edward, next week we’re going shopping for a new truck!” Rachel said walking into the room with a tray of fancy snacks which she set down on the coffee table.

Ed was trying to protest but his tongue got tangled as he got an eyeful of the tops of Rachel’s lush breasts.

“It will be fun picking out the features in the dealership with Ed,” Angie agreed as she too carried in a tray and leaned over to place the tray on the table.

Ed got a few sounds of protest out but nothing coherent as his eyes took in Angie’s soft expanse of rounded flesh.

Zoe entered next and Ed’s mouth just hung open as he took in her gold sheath dress with the plunging neckline, the gold chains tangling between her breasts and her demure but deeply satisfied smile. She set the tray she was carrying on the table and Ed’s mouth snapped shut.

Dale started to laugh as he saw the young man completely outclassed in this battle.

The doorbell rang again and shortly the sound of kid’s giggles filled the outer hall as Stephanie’s kids came running.

Ed’s face lit up as the four kids entered the room and he bent down to give each of them a hug. They asked him curiously about his cane so he gathered them close on the other side of the couch and told them the tale of the mad Christmas Pirate who destroyed his truck in a fiery explosion. The kid’s eyes were wide with excitement and they all wanted to see his stitches so he lifted his pant leg and they squealed in horrified excitement.

“ED!” Stephanie’s voice rang out. His head popped up over the top of the couch.

“What are you doing?” she asked, trying to hide her grin.

Ed came around the couch using his cane and her smile fell away. She rushed over to him and touched his chest. “WHAT HAPPENED?” she squeaked.

Stephanie’s kids all swarmed around her to fill her in on the dread Christmas Pirate who attacked Ed and Grace and how Ed got them to safety with only a small wound to his leg though his truck was destroyed.

She looked at Ed and he nodded with a fake grim look on his face. “It’s true. My truck is no more.”

Ed looked closer and his face lit up in a smile. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s!”

Stephanie was wearing black satin gloves that went all the way up to her toned biceps. The black satin dress was a reproduction of the Givenchy dress that Audrey Hepburn wore in that famous movie. It was one of Shirley’s favorite movies. He ignored the sadness that tugged at him when he thought of Grace’s mom. “You look amazing!” he purred and her face lit up with her own shy smile. He took in the glittering tiara she wore in her black hair and the oversized pearl necklace. It looked like she stepped from the movie screen. Her big blue eyes were sparkling with joy at his recognition of her dress and his appreciative looks.

Dale and Tristan came over to say hello and Ed looked up to see Carolyn walk in with her kids. He walked over to meet them and they all looked at his cane. He knew these kids wouldn’t appreciate an imaginative story so he just gave them the facts.

“Hit a patch of ice driving home last night and my truck slid off the road and got stuck in the snow. I carried Grace to safety but a truck pulling a tanker of gas also slid on the ice and crashed into my truck. Both trucks blew up. I was hit in the leg by a piece of metal ripped from a building we were hiding behind.

“Did you get stitches?” Gregory asked with an excited voice.

“Yup,” Ed replied.

“Can we see them?” Amelia asked, equally excited but maybe a little nervous.

Ed raised his eyebrows at Carolyn who was grinning at her kid’s enthusiasm. She nodded. Ed pulled up his pant leg and the two kids squealed in horrified excitement. As Ed dropped his pant leg the four other kids raced up and grabbed their friend’s hands and they ran for the basement stairs. The playroom had been set up for the kids to play before dinner. Isabelle followed them down.

He turned to Carolyn who looked breathtaking in a deep green dress that left her arms and her back exposed. She came forward to hug him and Ed touched the tattoo on her back, running his fingers over the raised scars. Scars he now knew were music. She clung tighter to him as his fingers caressed her back.

They parted and she looked up at him with such a look of love it took his breath away.

“I’ll never be able to express how grateful I am that you found the music hidden in the tattoo. I presented my initial findings and I have two offers for publishing the completed work. Very generous offers! We were going to be able to live comfortably before. Now our futures are set!”

“That’s amazing! I’m so happy for you!” Ed said and pulled her in for another hug. She held him tight as well.

“Someone seems pretty happy!” Stephanie grinned as she came to see her friend.

Ed turned to explain and Carolyn put a finger over his mouth. “I’m saving it for later,” she said and Ed nodded with a big smile. Stephanie pouted but Carolyn just gave her friend a hug.

They walked back into the family room to talk with the others. Ed’s leg was tired so he sat on the couch. Grace sat down next to him and held his hand.

“How’s the leg?” she asked.

“It’s ok. I’m just giving it a rest. I don’t think I’ll be doing any dancing tonight,” he sighed.

The doorbell rang again and Isabelle guided Mishka and Heather inside. The dark beauty was wearing a royal blue ankle length dress with slits to allow her legs to show as she walked. Ed noted she had very nice legs. Heather came in wearing a black knee length dress with blue lace at the shoulders and sleeves. The blue matched Mishka’s dress and she looked stunning in it!

Ed made to stand but Mishka held up a hand to stop him. “Doctor’s orders! Rest!” she said with a smile and he gratefully slumped back. Grace got up to give her a kiss and tight hug and Mishka blushed at Grace’s enthusiasm.

“Thank you for taking such good care of Ed!” Grace exclaimed.

“It was my pleasure!” Mishka replied.

“Hey! Choo tryin’ to steal my girl meng?” Heather said with an accent Ed just could not recognize. Mishka rolled her eyes with amusement as Heather threw some gang signs at Grace who started acting like a gang thug back at her friend. This soon dissolved into laughter.

Zoe took this opportunity to sit next to Ed and snuggled in close.

“Hi.”

“Hi yourself,” Ed replied. The heat from her soft body ignited… something in him. “You look… delicious.”

“Save your appetite for dinner,” she said but her eyes were saying something completely different.

He leaned in to talk quietly. “I want to free that chain from between your breasts… with my teeth.”

She trembled with desire. Maybe it wasn’t such a smart thing to sit so close to Ed before dinner. She went to stand up but his hand was in her hair and his lips were on hers and she was lost to his kiss.

When Ed pulled back from her soft lips he gasped softly. He blinked as he became aware of his surroundings again. He looked up and saw Grace and Mishka looking at him in surprise. Heather’s expression was closer to awe. Conversation in the room had come to a halt.

Angie and Rachel helped Zoe up from the couch and took her with them to the kitchen. She looked back at him as they left the room. Ed’s face went crimson and he didn’t know where to look.

Grace sat down beside him and took his hand. “It’s ok Ed.”

He finally looked at her and she saw the confusion in his eyes. He really looked lost. Her heart went out to him but she didn’t know how to help him with this. Except to be there for him. She felt his grip tighten and he leaned on her a little taking comfort from her.

Mishka was watching his reaction to his own behavior. She found it fascinating! She glanced at Heather and saw she was still staring at Ed. Mishka moved closer and bumped her with her hip. Heather started and blushed as she looked at her lover. She took Mishka’s arm and they walked over to the bar. She leaned in closer to speak quietly. “Fuck! That was really hot! I’ve never seen Ed act so aggressive!”

“I don’t think Ed is used to it either.” Mishka mused and Heather looked back and saw Ed trying to get his equilibrium back.

The doorbell rang again and Ed looked up. There was only one more outstanding guest so he struggled to his feet and Grace let him go on his own. He met Isabelle at the door and indicated that he’d answer it.

When he opened the door he saw the back of a fur coat walking away from the door.

“Victoria?”

The figure stopped then slowly turned. Nervous hazel eyes looked back at him and he smiled.

“Come in please! It’s cold out there!”

Victoria walked back and stepped into the warmth of the house while Ed closed the door. She noticed he was using a cane and her timid smile was replaced with a look of concern.

“What happened Edward?” she asked, touching his arm.

Ed shrugged. “Just a little accident in my truck last night. I need to keep all my weight off my leg for a bit. Nothing major. Can I get your coat?”

She nodded and undid the buttons slipping it from her shoulders. Ed hung it in the closet by the door and turned to face her again. She was wearing a lovely black lace blouse with a gold underlay, a charcoal skirt to mid-calf and red pumps. Very chic and stylish.

As promised she hadn’t gone to a salon to have them airbrush away her natural beauty. She’d done her own make-up and kept it subtle… except for her bold red lipstick but that was her trademark so it was expected. Her hair still shone like gold but its style was more casual and loose.

Once he’d taken in her new look he gazed into her eyes and saw her desperate need for approval. Even he was able to recognize that look.

“You look so beautiful tonight, Victoria. Thank you for coming to the party!” he said and she bloomed. Her confidence and poise returned, perhaps not as strong as it had once been but it was good to see her brittle fear burned away by her happy smile.

Angie arrived with Rachel and Zoe. Ed glanced nervously at Zoe as Rachel stepped forward.

“Victoria! Welcome! This is Angie Spencer, our host for the party and Zoe Sandoval who owns the property next to yours. It’s so wonderful you were able to join us today! Merry Christmas!”

Rachel then surprised Victoria by giving her a real hug, not the fake touchless greeting she’d received in the past. Angie did the same as did Zoe and by the end Ed could see Victoria was beginning to get a little overwhelmed with emotion. Her smile was in place but her eyes had become a little glassy.

“The others are in the family room and you can get a drink in there. We’re just finishing up the dinner preparations.” Angie said and the three headed back to the kitchen.

When they were alone Ed took Victoria’s hands in his and she bit her trembling lip. “We’re huggers. It’s real and honest. You’re part of our circle of friends now, ok? If you need help you can call on any of us, at any time. You aren’t alone.”

It was too much for Victoria and she began to cry. Ed pulled her against his chest and she clung to him as she cried. He held her until the fear and desperation were gone and she felt composed once more. She pulled back and took a tissue from her small gold clutch purse. She dabbed at her eyes and smiled shakily at Ed.

“Thank you so much Edward. I’ve never… had any real friends,” she said sadly.

“Well now you have many!” he grinned. “Come on, let’s go meet the rest.”

Taking his arm in hers Ed led her down the hall into the family room. He felt her grip on his arm was a little tight as she was nervous.

He brought her to Grace first as she was closest to the door and his leg was beginning to ache.

Grace stood and met them as she saw the hint of pain in Ed’s eyes. “Victoria! It’s lovely to see you again!” she said as she gently embraced the woman. Ed took that opportunity to sit.

“Sorry, my leg needs a rest.” Ed explained as Victoria looked at him in concern taking in the wince.

“Doctor’s orders.” Mishka said with a grin as she approached. “Hello, I’m Mishka Shyamalan and this is Heather Connors. I own the first home on the street and Heather is my fiancé.”

“Congratulations!” Victoria said and stepped forward to give Mishka a hug. She wanted so much to be part of Ed’s circle of friends. Mishka was a little surprised but embraced the woman in return. Heather enthusiastically came forward for a hug of her own and Victoria’s smile was beaming as she stepped back. She loved this new level of intimacy. It warmed her to her toes.

As Mishka and Heather stepped back Carolyn and Stephanie approached.

“Is- is that a Givenchy?” Victoria asked in surprise as she took in Stephanie’s dress.

The woman smiled in return. “I’m afraid it’s only a poor copy but I love it just the same. I’m Stephanie. It’s very nice to meet you Victoria!” They embraced and she stepped back to introduce her friend. “This is Carolyn. We own the two homes just north of Rachel’s up the hill.”

“Very nice to meet you! Welcome to the family!” Carolyn smiled, reading Victoria’s happiness to be included as she stepped in for her own hug.

Victoria was looking a little misty eyed again as Dale and Tristan approached.

“We’re the only ones in this ‘family’ who don’t actually live in the neighborhood.” Dale said with a grin. “I’m Dale Grant and this is my lovely wife Tristan.”

Victoria recognized Dale’s name and it showed in her surprised look. In the social circles she’d… once been in, the Grants were well respected and targets of opportunity. “My- husband spoke of you. He was highly jealous of your connections and influence.”

Dale grimaced. “You are highly fortunate to be rid of that evil man.”

“Dale!” Tristan gasped in horror at his coarse words.

Victoria smiled and pulled Dale into a tight hug. He was smiling when she stepped back. “Yes. Yes I am!” she said, her confidence getting yet another boost.

Tristan was still a little embarrassed but calmed when Victoria hugged her too.

“Dinner’s served!” Angie called from the doorway and her guests made their way down the hall to the dining room.

The long table was beautifully set with tall slim candles in groups of three down its length. Platters of turkey, cranberry jelly and fresh cranberry sauce, turkey dressing, steaming bowls of vegetables, and baskets of fresh baked biscuits filled the surface of the table. Twelve place settings were arranged down the sides of the table, six on each side with a thirteenth at the top for Angie as the host. At the other end of the table was the kids table seating three per side.

When the kids came upstairs Stephanie made the introductions for Victoria who was delighted to see children at Christmas.

Ed caught a sad expression flit across her face. He moved next to her and gently bumped her shoulder with his. When she looked up at him he gave her a smile. “Family’s worth fighting for,” he said and she nodded firmly. He saw the resolve in her eyes as she thought of her daughters.

They looked to find their places at the table and saw beautifully hand written cards positioned before each place setting.

“This is exquisite calligraphy!” Victoria said admiring the script on the small white card. She was secretly thrilled to see she was sitting next to Ed.

Isabelle blushed. “Thank you! It’s a hobby of mine.”

“Are you an artist too? Such graceful control over a pen usually means you’re equally skilled at other artistic pursuits,” Victoria continued.

“I dabble,” Isabelle admitted bashfully.

Angie snorted. “Dabble. She’s a brilliant artist and I’m not saying that just because I’m her mother!”

“Mom!”

Angie grinned at her daughter’s embarrassed smile.

“Take your seats everyone!”

With Angie at the top she’d placed Rachel at her right hand and Zoe at her left. Next to Rachel was Ed, then Victoria, Dale, Tristan, and Isabelle who could keep her eye on the kids. Sitting next to Zoe across from Ed was Grace then Stephanie, Carolyn, Mishka, and Heather.

Once everyone was seated Angie got everyone’s attention. “Before we begin I’d like everyone to join hands please.”

Victoria felt a thrill as she placed her left hand in Ed’s large hand and took Dale’s hand in her right. She looked up at her host with a smile as did the others.

“First I want to thank you all for coming to celebrate Christmas with us. It means so much to us that you joined us. Whether you celebrate the religious significance of Christmas or simply appreciate the traditions of the day, the most important purpose of the day is the gathering of friends and family to share the joy and love this celebration is built upon. I can think of no finer friends to share this day with.”

“Amen!” Dale said a little louder than intended and chuckles erupted around the table.

Angie released her friend’s hands and everyone began filling their plates. Platters and bowls were passed back and forth. Dale did the honors of opening two bottles of wine and these were passed around as well.

Soon everyone was enjoying the wonderful food and drink and conversation was light and fun.

Victoria was enjoying the wine and her relief at being accepted was so complete it made her almost giddy. She didn’t need to pretend to be interested and friendly as it came naturally. Everyone was so genuine and open! For the first time in years she was able to relax with others. She struck up a fascinating conversation with Dale and his wife about their recent trip to Barbados, an island she’d always wanted to visit. Mishka and Heather joined in as they thought it might be a lovely place to go on their honeymoon. When Victoria heard that Edward and Rachel were there with the Grants the idea of traveling with the big man slipped into her mind and that fantasy distracted her for a bit.

Ed was trying to tell a joke and he was destroying it so badly that Stephanie couldn’t stop giggling. On his third attempt Stephanie frantically waved at him to stop as she couldn’t breathe. He finally gave up with a grin and pout. Carolyn was enjoying seeing Stephanie lose it. Grace was watching Ed with a grin and Zoe’s eyes were twinkling with happiness.

Dessert was a choice of sticky toffee pudding cake, chocolate peppermint pie, ice cream and a variety of home baked cookies.

Ed sampled everything but the peppermint pie as he wasn’t keen on that flavor.

Too soon the meal was over and the kids were tasked with taking all the dirty dishes to the kitchen before they were allowed to head downstairs to play. Angie and Isabelle moved the leftover food into the fridge while everyone moved back to the family room to relax.

Ed found a comfy spot on the sofa and eased himself down. His leg wasn’t bothering him so much as he’d overeaten and was feeling a little sleepy from all the good food. Grace sat next to him and held his hand. Victoria walked in speaking with Dale and Tristan. Ed saw she was smiling and relaxed and he was glad that she was having a good time.

“Ed, can I fix you a scotch? I brought a bottle of the good stuff to share.” Dale called out.

Ed grinned and nodded to the man and got a big smile in return.

Victoria looked around for Ed and spotted him sitting in the middle of a large comfortable couch. She’d had too much wine with dinner and her head was spinning a little so she carefully made her way towards the couch. She looked to Grace who saw how carefully she was moving and the young woman gave her a knowing smile.

“My goodness, I think I enjoyed myself a little too much at dinner. The wine was so good! May I join you before I fall down?” she said to the couple on the couch.

“Please do. I mean- please have a seat, not fall down.” Ed blurted.

Victoria turned to sit but spun a little too quickly as the room kept spinning and she began to fall back. Then she felt a hand on her ass and one was on her side guiding her down. She felt the strength in his hands as he gently lowered her onto the couch beside him. When she was down he pulled his hand back but she leaned back and settled in under his arm. God his body felt good to lean against!

“So sorry. The room is spinning a little,” she said as she blushed.

Dale carried over Ed’s tumbler of scotch and saw Victoria’s state. “Did I give you too much wine?” he asked gently.

Victoria smiled up at the gentleman. “Maybe just a touch but it was such a wonderful dinner. I wouldn’t change a thing.” She was feeling a definite glow at the moment and was becoming very sleepy. The security of Ed’s arm around her and the heat of his body against hers after the ordeal she’d been through was completely relaxing her. She finally felt safe, like her troubles were over and she was free. Her eyes began to close.

Dale handed Ed the scotch and smiled at the woman who was obviously on her way to sleepy land. He raised a toast to the young man and they clinked glasses. He watched Ed sip the scotch and take in its flavors. Then the swallow with eyes closed to feel its heat sliding down his throat. When Ed’s eyes reopened he smiled broadly.

“Oh that’s good scotch! Really good!” Ed gushed.

“I knew you’d appreciate it!” Dale grinned as he took a sip from his own glass.

“There you go, corrupting Ed with your wicked hard liquor again!” Tristan teased her husband.

“Being introduced to the best things in life isn’t corruption it’s enlightenment!” he teased back. “That’s how I felt when I met you!”

“Ooo! You’re a smooth talker mister!” Tristan said batting her eyelashes at Dale.

“All the better to sweep you off your feet my love!” he said pulling her into a hug and planting a kiss on her happy lips. They moved to take a seat on the loveseat across from the couch.

Ed was grinning with joy and looked towards Grace. He saw she was watching him with love in her eyes. He tried to lean towards her to kiss her but he couldn’t move. He looked to his left and saw Victoria was asleep on his left arm. He looked back at Grace in surprise and her lips were on his. Her wonderful soft lips. He could get lost in the bliss of her kiss! He put his tumbler between his knees then reached up with his freed hand to slide it into the hair on the back of her head so he could kiss her more deeply. She pushed back against his chest and pulled her lips from his causing him to moan a little. She lifted his arm over her and settled in under it.

His head was spinning from her kiss but he realized he no longer had a hand to lift his scotch with. “Uh Grace, could you get my scotch now that you have my arm?”

She chuckled and pulled it from between his knees and he was able to relax. She lifted it to his lips so he could take another sip.

Mishka and Heather were helping Isabelle, Stephanie, and Carolyn roll the three couches, the loveseat and two extra chairs in a square around the large coffee table. Angie, Rachel and Zoe carried in platters of cookies and cupcakes, and a tea and coffee service. All of this went onto the coffee table.

Soon everyone was relaxing and Rachel spotted Victoria snoring gently against Ed’s shoulder. She smiled and shook her head. She understood how comforting it was to be in Ed’s arms and couldn’t begrudge the woman this simple pleasure after what she’d been through. She caught Ed’s eyes on hers and saw his admiration and love in them. She felt a zing of joy shoot through her body from that.

Isabelle made herself busy as Santa’s little helper by bringing the kids upstairs. They immediately headed for the cookies and cupcakes. Isabelle got them distributed amongst the couches squeezed in with the adults then collected the presents under the tree for them. Each child got one present to open and they tore into the wrappings with joy. They all discovered action figures from the latest movie release so squeals were heard and each of the kids rushed to give Angie a kiss then they raced downstairs to play with their new toys.

Victoria woke to the sounds of happy children and she smiled thinking it was her daughters. Then she recalled they were overseas and for a second despair almost overwhelmed her. Edward’s words came to her then. Family was worth fighting for and she would not give up! She felt so warm and safe. Then she heard other voices. She cracked her eyes open and saw she was on the couch nestled in under Edward’s arm up against his body. She saw Dale and Tristan sitting on the loveseat on the other side of the coffee table. They were watching her wake with gentle smiles on their faces.

That’s when she noticed the drool.

She was mortified that she’d drooled on herself- on Edward too!

“Oh my god! Oh! I’m so sorry!” she muttered in absolute embarrassment and tried to move away from him but his strong arm wrapped around her holding her in place. A gentle hand dabbed her mouth and chin with a tissue. She timidly looked up into friendly eyes smiling down at her.

“Do you think you’re the first to do that to me?” he said simply as he dabbed his sweater dry.

She blushed again and he gave her another hug then released her so she could sit up.

She looked down at her hands. “Thank you Edward for being so nice to me.”

Ed looked at her in surprise. “Why wouldn’t I be nice to you?”

Victoria shook her head and looked at the rest of the group. “I really want to thank everyone for being so welcoming and wonderful. Everyone I knew before… before I killed my husband…” she shook her head. “They’ve abandoned me. I’m a social pariah. I don’t want any of you to suffer that fate for my sake.”

“Victoria, anyone who would abandon you in your time of deepest desperation isn’t worthy of your friendship. Ed brought us up to speed on your situation and on the measures you were forced to take to escape from your husband. I believe I can speak for all of us here that we don’t give a rats ass what anyone thinks of us and we’d be damned if we let anyone’s ignorance keep us from being your friend. You are one of us now. You’re stuck with us.” Dale said with a stubborn look.

The rest of the group nodded and smiled. Ed put his hand over hers and gave them a squeeze. Victoria’s eyes were welling with tears. All she could manage was a squeaky ‘thank you’ as her throat closed up.

Isabelle returned from the basement. “Is it time to hand out the gifts to the adults now?” she said with a smile.

“What gifts are those? We didn’t get gifts for each other.” Angie asked.

Isabelle went to the tree and picked up a stack of small boxes roughly wrapped. Names were hand written on them. She began to hand them out and Ed began to squirm when he saw it was the gifts he’d picked up.

“Ed, stop worrying.” Grace said patting his leg which was bouncing nervously.

He pushed himself to his feet. “I just want to apologize now before you open them. I had no time to Christmas shop this year so I picked up all my gifts at the airport in New York City on the way back from our visit. I thought these would be just a little fun thing and I’d get you all something better but…”

Stephanie got hers open first and pulled out a metal locket the size of her palm with an etching of the Statue of Liberty on it. She smiled at Ed and pressed the button on the side and the locket folded open. There was a mirror on one side and a 2”x3”picture on the other. Stephanie looked at the picture and froze. Her eyes went wide as she bit her lip and her face got all red as Ed watched her nervously. He was expecting her to laugh. He thought the gift was funny. Why wasn’t she laughing?

Angie got a gold locket with a big red apple on the side. She opened hers and gaped at the picture she found inside. She looked over at Rachel and Zoe who were tearing into their packages after seeing the expressions on their friend’s faces.

Rachel began to chuckle as she saw hers and Ed felt a little better but even her chuckle wasn’t a laughter chuckle. He turned to Grace as she finally managed to get past the tape jail Ed had sealed her gift in. Wrapping presents was not his forte. Her locket was gold with a yellow cab in glittery stones. She popped it open and her eyes went wide when she saw the picture.

Ed leaned closer to whisper. “Why isn’t anyone laughing? It’s a gag gift! I thought everyone would think they were really funny!”

“Oh Ed! I love this!” Zoe purred as she devoured the picture in hers with her eyes.

“Oh my god! Are all the pictures different?!?” Carolyn gasped as she caught sight of the picture in Stephanie’s locket which wasn’t the same as hers. Suddenly the ladies were on their feet comparing pictures.

Ed looked at Victoria whose face was flushed. He thought he’d put a non-gag image in hers. He felt awful that he’d embarrassed her!

“I’m sorry they are dumb gifts! I’ll take them back-”

“NO!” Victoria blurted loudly and the rest began to laugh. She looked around and saw they were laughing with her not at her so she gave them a shy smile and looked back at her locket with a grin.

“You can’t have mine back either Ed!” Stephanie grinned wickedly. Soon all the women were jumping on that bandwagon and turned back to comparing the pictures.

Angie turned to Ed with an incredulous expression. “Wait a minute! You took these pictures in a photo booth at the airport?!? Ed, you’re… naked in these pictures! You were naked in a photo booth in one of the busiest airports in the US? How on Earth did you manage not to get caught?

“When I was in the airport gift shop I saw so many gag gifts with shots of undressed male models posing in these… positions. I thought it would be funnier if I used pictures of myself in those same poses! And I’m not naked! I covered my important parts… mostly. I thought you would find them funny!” he said with a pout. “And the police lady thought they were pretty fun. She kept watch when I told her what I wanted to do.”

Grace started to laugh and hugged Ed who just looked at her in surprise.

Mishka saw a close up of Ed’s friendly smile inside her locket. She turned it around to show the others. “Mine seems tame enough.”

Heather’s had a similar smiling face picture and she showed it as well.

“Ah Heather, I mixed yours and Victoria’s up,” Ed said.

“I have to see it at least!” Heather bounced up to her feet and walked over to Victoria’s side.

Victoria popped the locket open and showed it to Heather whose jaw dropped.

“Aw man! I want one of those too!” Heather moaned.

Isabelle was standing next to Heather with wide eyes. She looked at Ed and licked her lips nervously. “You know, if we mounted these images all side by side and scanned them we could make a really awesome collage.”

“YES!” Angie cheered. “That’s my daughter’s artistic genius at work! How large would the final piece be?”

“Well, each is 2”x3” and there are how many images? Nine?” Isabelle said as she counted the lockets.

“Ten,” Tristan said turning the locket she had which contained one of the beefcake pictures as well.

Ed hung his head then looked up at Tristan and Dale. “I’m so sorry! I thought I used one of the happy face images in yours. I must have gotten it mixed up with the outtakes.”

The women went quiet and looked his way. “You have more of these?” Rachel asked with a happy grin.

“Just the bad ones.”

“How many,” Rachel pushed.

“About twenty. I spent a lot of money on that stupid booth as it kept taking pictures too quickly, catching me between poses. The police lady said she had to confiscate some as they were too risqué.” Rachel exchanged excited looks with her friends and they all looked to Grace.

“We’ll take a look at the pictures when we get home.” Grace said as she gave them an amused grin.

“So… they aren’t bad presents?” Ed asked Grace.

“No Ed, they’re a big hit!” Grace said with a gentle smile which he returned.

“I like my gift very much too Ed, thank you!” Dale said holding up the package of whisky stones.

Ed saw them in the gadget shop in the airport and the salesman explained they were stones you froze and put in your scotch to chill it without watering down your drink. He thought they were perfect for Dale. He gave the man a happy nod.

Angie came over to kneel down before Ed and took his hands. “It was really sweet of you to get us all presents but you really didn’t need to do that.”

“You have all been so amazing to me and Grace this year I wanted to do something to show my appreciation.” He caught the eyes of each of the women in his life now. “You’ve been so generous to me and I’ve done nothing in return,” Ed said sadly.

“OH MY GOD ED! How could you think that?” Angie gasped in shock. “You came with me to New York to that award show! You protected me from Greg!”

Stephanie was next to chime in. “You showed up at our house dressed as Santa. You absolutely made Christmas for my kids that night! Then after a long day of work you came over to my place to assemble my new bedroom furniture.” She bit her lip and looked at Ed with a sly smile as she remembered what else they’d done. Ed blushed as he remembered too.

“Ed discovered the secret to unlocking the language of my lost tribe!” Carolyn said and shocked faces swung in her direction. “I’ve been able to translate the tattoo based on the songs I recorded from them and the scarring in my tattoo. Ed discovered the pattern in the raised surfaces was music. He unlocked the tattoo and now I have two major publishing houses bidding on the rights to publish the new language with a world tour museum circuit, conferences, and interviews! There is significant money on the table and finally some recognition for the tribe!”

Carolyn received hugs from some of the ladies and congratulations from the others.

Rachel returned to her seat and looked over at Ed. “Edward, don’t forget that you took me to the gala dinner with Dale and Tristan and you used a week of your vacation time to go to Barbados with me! That’s a week I’ll never forget! Even if you can’t remember parts of it!” Rachel grinned.

“Some memories surfaced.” Ed grinned back at Rachel and turned his gaze to Tristan who froze like a deer in the headlights.

“I won that drinking competition on the party boat!” he cheered and Tristan burst into nervous giggles. She calmed when Dale took her hand in his. Grace wondered at her odd reaction.

On her way back to her seat from hugging Carolyn Zoe stopped in front of Ed. “You brought my daughter back to me. We have a long way to go but when she broke down in the prison I reached her. For the first time in years we connected. I’ll be forever grateful for that. On that very same night you saved my life. Luis Ramos was going to rape and kill me. Make no mistake that was his intent the moment he saw me. He’d raped me twice in the past and I barely managed to survive the beatings he gave me afterwards. If you had not done what you did that night, I would be dead today. The fact that you punished him so severely for his evil brings my soul a level of peace I never thought I would have. Again, I cannot thank you enough.”

Ed was blushing and squirming but Grace had a hold on his arm.

“What… what did Edward do?” Victoria gasped breathlessly.

With a glance at Ed to receive permission she faced Victoria when he nodded slightly.

“Ed pulled his arms off.”

Grace rubbed his back as he shuddered hearing the words again.

The room went silent as everyone absorbed that fact. It was the first time many had heard the story.

Dale watched Ed’s reaction to the words and his eyes widened. It wasn’t an exaggeration? He’d have to ask Zoe for details when Ed wasn’t around.

Mishka also wanted details because questions were filling her mind. Mostly revolving around the exact nature of the injury and how it was treated.

Heather’s, Victoria’s, Stephanie’s and Carolyn’s reaction were far more instinctive. They wanted to get closer to Ed. Only Victoria could as she was sitting next to him. She subconsciously leaned in against his side. Ed smiled at her thinking she was just lending him her support.

“I have another reason to thank Ed and this time it is far less grim. The seasoning he provided for the steaks we serve in my restaurant has helped to boost our revenue thirty percent. It would have been higher but we don’t have the space for more customers at our location. We’re booked solid for months in advance now! We’ve been getting rave revues by all the food critics and everyone at the restaurant got a lovely bonus this Christmas because of Ed. You are a hero to the entire staff! My accountant worked out your share for this quarter, based on Rachel’s brutal negotiations.” She smiled back at the red head and handed Ed an envelope before sitting back down next to Rachel who gave her a hug.

Ed’s eyes bugged out when he saw the amount on the cheque. This would go quite a ways towards finishing Grace’s schooling!

“That’s just for this quarter Ed. I’m also in negotiations with a major food distributor to bottle your steak seasoning and french fry seasoning for retail sales. That would mean quite a bit more money for you!” Zoe smiled and Grace gave Ed a big hug.

Rachel leaned forward to catch Ed’s eye. “Edward, you give us the most valuable gift of all, your time. Without complaint or question, you are always there for us. Always ready to lend a hand or step in to make things right. I know we can be pretty demanding but you’re always so patient and giving. Please don’t think we haven’t noticed! We love you!”

Ed was blushing but he held Rachel’s eyes with his so she could see his love for her.

“On the message of love I have one more gift to give Ed.” Grace said with a nervous smile.

Grace pulled an envelope out of her purse and unfolded it. She handed it to Ed biting her lower lip.

Ed grinned at Grace and opened the envelope. There was a folded piece of paper inside which he took out and unfolded. Grace’s name was at the top of the paper and there was a black and white image printed on the page. He looked at the image and it didn’t register. He just couldn’t tell what he was looking at. His mind kept trying to see patterns in it but he couldn’t. He looked blankly at Grace.

Victoria saw the image and made a squeaking noise before she slapped her hands over her mouth. Ed glanced at her in confusion then looked back to Grace.

“What is it?”

“It’s an ultrasound of our babies.”

“You’re having a baby? My baby?” Ed said quietly as his ears filled with a rushing noise.

“Babies, Ed. Twins!” She was waiting for Ed’s reaction and knew she’d have to give him a moment.

Squealing erupted from their audience and Rachel rushed over to hug Grace. She was followed closely by the others as everyone wanted to congratulate her and give her hugs.

Ed looked at the picture and tried to see the babies. The roaring was very loud in his head now and distracting but he did his best to ignore it. Now that he knew what to look for the picture snapped into sharp focus. “Wait! Did you say twins?” Ed blinked.

Grace had tears of happiness from the kisses and hugs from everyone. Everyone but Ed. Still she waited. Angie began to get frustrated with Ed’s behavior but Grace just held up her hand to let her know they had to be patient. She nodded to Ed.

“I- I see- I see the… babies.” He turned his head to Grace and tears of joy were running down his cheeks. “You’re having my babies?”

Grace smiled and nodded. Ed took her in his arms and cried. He was thrilled! He was terrified! He didn’t know how to react. He just held her and rocked back and forth.

Finally Grace pushed him back so she could look him in the eye. She lifted his chin and she saw fear there but he had a hard time looking her in the eye.

“Ed, talk to me. What’s wrong? Aren’t you happy?” Grace asked gently.

“Oh Grace, I’m so happy I don’t know what to do with myself!” he replied quietly.

“But…”

Ed’s chest was tight but he couldn’t deny her. “I pray the triplets will have your smarts and not be simple headed like me!”

“The twins will be beautiful and a perfect mix of both of us,” Grace said happily.

Ed held up the print. “I’ve never read one of these before but I see three babies.”

“Wait, didn’t you say you were on the pill?” Rachel blurted.

Grace bit her lip and gave Rachel a guilty smile as she took the print from Ed’s hand to show him the twins. Rachel grinned and shook her finger at Grace.

“Here’s the head of the first baby and here’s the head of the second,” Grace pointed out to Ed.

“And I think these could be the feet of a third baby,” Ed said pointing to a dim part of the image.

Grace looked closer and the shape did look like feet. Feet that couldn’t belong to the other two. Why hadn’t she seen this before? “We’ll have to ask the doctor to do another ultrasound. He was sure it was twins!”

“Do multiple births run in your family?” Stephanie asked.

“Yes, Shirley’s mom was a twin.” Grace said distractedly as she turned her eyes back to the picture.

“When are you due?” Angie asked.

“Sometime in June.” Grace mumbled unable to look away from the possible little feet. She shook her head and tried to put the idea of triplets out of her head until they knew for sure. She’d barely prepared herself for twins. Her confidence broke. “How am I going to manage triplets and a career?” Grace blurted. “I don’t know how to be a mother? Look at my own example!”

Rachel knelt by her feet and took Grace’s hands in hers. “You are not alone in this! We will be there for you and Ed and the children!” She reached over and pulled Ed’s hand on top of Grace’s and wrapped them both in hers. “These children will be loved like no others. You have all of us for support.”

Grace reached out and pulled Rachel into a hug and Ed hugged them both. When they pulled back eyes were dabbed to dry the happy tears.

Rachel was so excited! Having babies in her home was a dream come true! She knew she could rely on Angie and Zoe to help guide her in taking care of them. She was already envisioning the three of them going for walks with three strollers. She couldn’t stop grinning and Grace looked so happy and relieved.

“I’m going to be a Dad!” Ed mumbled as the concept slowly seeped into his brain. He pulled Grace’s hand to his lips and kissed her palm tenderly as he looked into her eyes. “I don’t have an example of how to be one but I’ll try to be the best Dad I can be.” Grace pulled his hand to her tummy and his eyes followed.

“Just be who you are Ed. That’s the best person a Dad could be.” Grace smiled with tears in her eyes.

“Well this has officially become the best Christmas party I’ve ever been to!” Dale said with a wide smile and laughter broke out. He hugged his wife who was sharing a special smile with him as she held his hand over her own tummy.

The party went on for quite some time as conversation centered on parenting and childhood experiences. The cookies and cupcakes slowly disappeared as the tea and coffee was sipped.

Soon everyone was yawning but reluctant to leave. The desire to stay in the comfort of being with good friends was almost overpowering. They finally promised to get together for another party to celebrate New Years and the party began to break up. Isabelle went to collect Stephanie’s kids as Stephanie hugged Grace and Ed walked her to the front door.

She looked up and saw someone had hung a garland of mistletoe on the hall light. Ed spotted it too and pulled Stephanie against his body with a grin. Her eyes widened and she giggled nervously. He took a kiss slowly and sensually from her mouth and she moaned gently as his lips caressed hers.

“Merry Christmas Stephanie,” he said when he pulled back.

“Merry Christmas…Ed,” she breathed as her whole body tingled.

He got her coat from the closet and helped her put it on as four sleepy kids trudged up the stairs with Isabelle. Ed gave them hugs before they followed their mom outside to drive home.

Arms wrapped around Ed from behind. He looked over his shoulder and saw it was Carolyn pressed up against his back. He turned and she looked up at him with a smile. He gave her a tender kiss and she melted in his arms. Afterwards she rested her cheek against his chest until her kids pulled her away from him when Isabelle brought them upstairs.

“We’re tired and we want to go home Mom,” Gregory said.

Ed just smiled at Carolyn’s pout as he helped her on with her coat. He kissed her on the nose as he buttoned up her top button and that got her to smile. Ed hugged her kids with an exchange of Merry Christmases and off they went.

His leg was tired so he made his way back to the family room and met Dale and Tristan on their way out. Dale reached out to shake his hand.

“Merry Christmas Ed and congratulations on your family to be!” Dale beamed as he shook Ed’s hand firmly.

“Merry Christmas to you both,” Ed said with a big smile.

Tristan pulled Ed into a tight hug. Ed looked at Dale in surprise as he hugged her. Dale just smiled fondly at his wife.

She pulled back and Ed saw she was blushing and had tears in her eyes. “Are you ok?” he asked her in concern but she just nodded and kissed his cheek.

Dale gathered his wife up under his arm and led her to the front door where Isabelle was waiting with their coats. Ed made it to the Family room where Mishka took one look at him and directed him to a couch. He sank down into the cushions with a sigh and she sat down on the edge of the couch facing him.

“You need to stay off your feet for a day or so. That will give your leg time to get its healing underway. Then you can walk a little more.” Mishka said.

“I go back to work on Tuesday.”

Mishka smiled. “That should be fine but take it slow and rest when you need to.”

Heather came up to stand before them. She looked at Mishka. “He hurt his calf, right?”

When Mishka nodded Heather quickly slid her ass onto Ed’s lap as she beamed down at him. Mishka squeaked in protest.

“Relax! I just have a favor to ask Ed… for us.” Heather smiled at her lover. She turned her face to Ed who was looking up at her in surprise.

“We will likely want to have a family of our own one day. I’d like you to be the donor.” Heather smiled.

Mishka was about to protest once more but the image of having a family with Heather suddenly filled her mind and she realized she did want that. Very much! She reached out to take her fiancé’s hand gently and pulled it to her lips.

Heather smiled tenderly at Mishka then her eye’s widened as she felt something large pressing and moving against her ass. “Ooo! I think Ed likes that idea too.” She rubbed her ass against him, feeling his cock growing and throbbing and her face became a little flushed.

“Babe, can you take me home now?” Heather said with a quiet voice.

Mishka grinned at Heather and nodded. She leaned forward and kissed Ed’s cheek and Heather moaned as Ed throbbed under her.

“Mishka, please!” Heather’s voice sounded a little desperate.

“Merry Christmas Ed and thank you,” Mishka said as she stood and pulled Heather to her feet. Heather clung to her side but looked down at the bulge in Ed’s pant leg. She pressed herself against Mishka and trembled.

Mishka finally managed to get them moving to the front door and Ed watched them go.

Victoria sat down gently next to Ed and smiled timidly at him. Then her eyes caught the shape of Ed’s cock against the tight fabric of his pants. Her face froze as she realized his size. God, she wanted to see it, to touch it skin to skin… to taste it! She felt so wicked and… alive for the first time since Ed visited her house.

“You- you never finished your house call that day,” she said quietly.

Ed looked at her and saw she was looking at his lap. She wasn’t disgusted or fearful so he relaxed a little. “You’re right. I should finish that this week,” he replied.

“I’d like that.” Her eyes came up to meet his.

Ed really did think she was so much prettier now that her make-up didn’t make her look like a doll. Her hair shone in the light and his fingers were gently pushing it back from her forehead so he could see her face.

Victoria’s eyes closed as she felt his hand touching her hair. She smiled at his gentleness and squeaked when his lips touched hers. He began to pull back but she pushed forward to capture his lips with hers. She took his face between her hands and kissed him deeply, her tongue slipped into his mouth and it was Ed’s turn to squeak.

Her desperate need for him drove her on and her passion was everything.

Ed took a grip on her shoulders and pushed her back, stopping the kiss abruptly.

Victoria’s eyes snapped open and she saw Ed’s surprised expression. She felt something break inside. She looked around the room and saw shocked expressions on a number of faces. Her embarrassment was complete. She’d made a fool of herself.

She leapt to her feet and ran from the room ignoring Ed’s shout for her to stop. She made it to the front door and tried not to look at Isabelle’s concerned expression as she was handed her coat. She quickly pulled it on and grabbed the door handle.

An arm went over her shoulder and a large hand pushed the door closed. She felt her body being spun around and pushed back against the door.

Ed took her chin in his hand and gently lifted her face until he could see her eyes. She finally looked at him and she gasped.

Victoria was expecting to see rage or disgust but Ed was looking at her with compassion and more than a little lust. There was something… primal in his eyes.

“That was a very good kiss. You just surprised me,” Ed said quietly, his voice deep with his need.

She trembled in his grip. He was so strong and she needed him so badly.

Ed could see the desperation in her eyes. He wasn’t sure why she felt that way but it triggered something in him. He leaned in and kissed her hard, his tongue stroking hers, his body pressing her against the door. She was so soft and willing, she was his to take and his lust surged.

Victoria wanted to rip off her thick coat and her dress underneath so she could feel Ed’s body but he had her pinned against the door. He was being so rough! He wanted her so badly! She was so wet and she was tingling like mad between her legs!

Ed felt a sharp pain in his calf and it broke the spell. His mind began to come back to him. Before it did completely he slid his hand inside her coat and ran his fingers over her fabric covered pussy.

Victoria gasped and clung to him as he took her body and mind completely over the top. An intense burst of pleasure rocked through her and she whimpered against his shoulder as she shook through her release.

Ed pulled his hand away and took her face between them again. He tenderly kissed her lips as she slowly came back to Earth.

“I’ll see you this week. Be good until then,” he rumbled quietly. She bit her lip and nodded to him.

He pulled back and Victoria pulled her coat closed and smiled up at him. She could see he still wanted her and that filled her being with warmth that would stay with her until they could be together again. With another happy smile she slipped out the front door and was gone.

Ed leaned back against the door and winced. His calf was throbbing painfully. When he opened his eyes he saw Isabelle standing in the foyer, her face flushed. She was breathing hard, looking back at him with wide eyes.

“I need my cane,” Ed said. In his haste to catch Victoria at the door he’d left it behind.

“GRACE! ED NEEDS HIS CANE!” Isabelle called out, unable to move.

Moments later Grace rushed into the foyer with the cane. She was followed by the others. Everyone took in Ed slumping back against the door, the pain in his eyes, his obvious physical excitement and Isabelle’s state. Grace moved to his side.

“What happened? Is Victoria ok?” she asked with concern.

“He took her! Against the door!” Isabelle blurted.

Ed blushed and nodded. “She was ok when she left but… we need to talk,” he said quietly. “I need to sit down.”

Grace handed him his cane and helped him back to the family room. Angie grilled Isabelle for her eye witness account and the young woman squirmed as she recounted it to her mother.

Ed sank back against the cushions and Rachel gently rested his left leg up on an ottoman. He smiled gratefully at her then his eyes were trapped by her cleavage as she was leaning forward over his leg. He felt himself throb in his pants. She smiled up at him.

Zoe sat opposite him on the loveseat and Angie returned to the family room to sit next to Zoe. Isabelle had gone upstairs to her room to… be alone with her thoughts.

Ed’s brows drew together as he struggled to put his words together. He looked Grace in the eye. “You know I’m not very good at reading people so I may be way off base. I need you or Rachel to speak with Victoria to find out if I’m right.” Rachel nodded to him and he sighed with relief. “When I spoke with her that time I serviced her house she wanted me to kiss her. When I refused she got kinda desperate. I guess that was because of her husband’s abuse. I don’t know what damage he’d done to her. When I spoke with her at the prison she was so lost. I think she’s a very lonely person. She told me tonight this was the first time she’s had real friends. I’m worried about her. I think she really needs us.” He looked at the others and saw them smiling back at him and nodding.

“Ed, you have such a good heart! You’re going to be the best dad!” Grace said and hugged him.

He wrapped his arms around her and held her tight against his body, burying his face in her soft, sweet smelling hair.

“I hope I’ll be a good dad! I have no example to follow.” Ed said quietly.

Grace pulled back and took his face in her hands. “You just have to be yourself Ed. You know right from wrong and you know the strength of compassion. You’re an excellent listener. When you don’t know something you aren’t afraid to ask. That’s a great head start!”

Ed looked at Grace with love in his eyes and he lifted her hands to kiss them.

“We should get you home,” she said.

Rachel nodded and with Grace’s help they pulled Ed to his feet. When he got there he discovered he couldn’t put any weight on his leg without a lot of pain. They eased him back down onto the couch.

“I guess I must have strained it when I ran after Victoria.” Ed said with a wince.

“Ed can stay in the guest room tonight and you can pick him up in the morning,” Angie said.

“I thought Zoe was staying in the guest room.” Rachel said.

“She can stay with me in my room tonight.” Angie clarified and Rachel nodded. Zoe opened her mouth to protest but the other two pinned her with their eyes and she wisely remained silent.

Grace watched the exchange with a knowing smile. “Let’s get him to the guest room.”

Once more she and Rachel got him to his feet but he had to lean on Grace to take the weight off his left leg. They made their way down the hall, moving slowly.

“Geez Ed, you need to go on a diet!” she groaned under his weight.

“I’m sorry Grace, I can put more weight on my leg,” he said contritely.

“No, sorry I was just teasing. We’re almost there,” Grace apologized.

Zoe went in the room first and turned down the sheets. She gathered a few items as Grace and Rachel got Ed to the edge of the bed. Grace pulled his sweater up and over his head and Rachel removed his tie and began unbuttoning his shirt.

Ed gently took Rachel’s hands in his and looked at her with a crooked smile. “You know, I know how to undress myself for bed.”

Rachel leaned down and kissed Ed sweetly. She felt him straining to keep her lips against his as she pulled back and that sent a thrill through her body. “I love you Ed. You sleep well and we’ll pick you up in the morning.” She stepped back and Grace came forward.

She took his face in her hands and kissed him. When his hands touched her body she pushed back as he was just too tempting. She could easily see herself climbing onto his body to… no, better keep those thoughts away.

Angie leaned his cane against the end table in case he needed it and gave him a kiss good night. Ed got an eyeful of her cleavage and he tried to look elsewhere but Zoe was there looking so…

Zoe kissed him quickly and followed Angie from the room with her items in her hands.

Ed undid his pants and slid them off. He tugged his socks off and winced as his injured calf gave him another spike of pain. He pulled himself under the covers and tried to get some rest.

-=-

Angie and Zoe helped Rachel and Grace with their coats and gave them hugs.

“Come for breakfast tomorrow!” Angie said with a big smile.

“Sounds lovely!” Rachel said and they stepped outside into the snow.

Angie locked up and turned to head upstairs. She looked back and saw Zoe looking down the hall towards the guest room. “Zoe.”

The woman jumped and turned to follow. They went to the master and took turns getting ready for bed. Zoe slipped under the sheets and Angie turned off the lights.

“Good night Angie. It was a lovely party!” Zoe said quietly.

“Thanks! Good night Zoe.”

They were both quiet for a while though neither seemed to be falling asleep.

“Do- do you think Ed is alright down there?” Zoe asked.

Angie had been thinking the same thing but she knew what would happen if Zoe went to check. Ed needed to rest. They’d just have to be strong. “Ed is fine. Go to sleep.”

Zoe pouted and flipped onto her side facing away from Angie. She’d wait until Angie was asleep then she’d check on Ed just to make sure.

Angie turned onto her side away from Zoe and listened for her friend to fall asleep so she could slip downstairs to check on him herself.

-=-

Isabelle made her way to the kitchen to get a chilled bottle of water. Her ‘alone time’ had been lovely but she needed a drink before she went to bed and liked to have a bottle of water on her night table. She heard a noise down the hall and stopped. It didn’t sound like Zoe. She walked to the guest room door and listened. She heard a painful hiss and opened the door stepping inside.

“ED?” she squeaked.

He was standing in the middle of the floor wobbling a little with a death grip on his cane. He looked at her a little desperately.

“I need to use the washroom but it hurts too much to walk. Now I’m stuck.” Ed gritted out between his teeth.

“Where’s Zoe?” Isabelle asked as she put her shoulder under Ed’s left arm and took his weight off his leg. She heard him sigh with relief.

“She’s upstairs with Angie.” Ed said as Isabelle slowly helped him over to the bathroom.

She got him positioned in front of the toilet and lifted the lid and seat for him. He still had his arm around her so she couldn’t move away.

“Uh, could you… maybe just stand there while I do this so I don’t fall down?” Ed asked, embarrassed. “You can close your eyes.”

Not trusting her voice she nodded and closed her eyes. She felt him struggling to push his boxers down so she pulled the elastic down on her side. Her eyes opened automatically and she saw his heavy cock swing free. She froze as she watched Ed take his thick member in his hand and point it at the bowl. A stream of urine was soon rushing into the bowl and Isabelle watched in fascination. She’d never seen a man pee before. She grabbed a wad of toilet paper in preparation as the roll was on her side.

When Ed was finished squeezing out the last drops she handed him the paper and watched him dry himself off. She flushed and they moved to the sink to wash their hands. She helped him back to the bed and tried to ease him down on it but his leg gave and they both fell back onto the mattress. She banged her head on Ed’s chin clocking him good.

They lay there for a bit just moaning.

“Ow.” Ed said as he gingerly touched his chin.

“Geez! Are you made of stone?” Isabelle winced as she touched the sore spot on her head.

“Not entirely,” he managed to say and she snorted in amusement.

She slid off the bed onto her feet and helped lift his legs under the covers. That placed her face right above his groin and she looked down at the bulge in his boxers. She froze. It was right there.

“Ed? I need to see it.”

“What?” he asked nervously as he watched her leaning over his body.

“Your cock. I need to see it. Up close.”

“Uh, I don’t think that’s a good ideaAHHHH!” he yelped as her hands were suddenly sliding over his boxers.

She tugged them down just enough to free the beast. Her eyes widened as she admired his thickening length. Her mind went back to the day she’d tried to take him inside her. That memory was stuck in her mind. The intense fullness, the paralysis of her fear, the pleasure and pain mixing and confusing her brain. She’d only managed to get just the tip of his cock inside her and all she could recall was the intensity. She had to try again!

She leaned over to open the night table drawer and pulled out the lube she’d left there when she was dating her last boyfriend Jeffery.

“Isabelle, what are you doing?” Ed said trying to reach down to pull up his boxers.

She pushed him back down and squirted the lube onto his cock.

“AAAHHH! THAT’S COLD!” he yelled.

Isabelle dropped the tube on the bed and grabbed his cock in both hands, lifting it vertical and rubbing the lube over his skin.

Ed pushed his head back into the pillows as Isabelle’s stroking felt very good.

She saw he was getting really hard so she stood up on the mattress, pulled off her panties, and pulled her nightie up and over her head. She stood over Ed naked and rubbed her lube covered hand over her wet pussy. Fuck that felt good! She sank down to her knees straddling his body and rubbed her pussy up and down his length. Geezus! She was so fucking wet! She wanted Ed so much but she was also terrified of what she was about to attempt to do. She savagely pushed that fear aside and lifted Ed’s cock up to meet her pussy.

“Isabelle, would you just wait-”

NO! She pushed back hard and Ed’s well lubed cock forced its way inside her pussy four inches before she locked up once more. The intensity she’d experienced before paled to the sensations ripping through her mind this time. FUCK! She felt so incredibly full! FUCK! His hot cock felt like it was on fire! FUCK! Little barbs of pain from being stretched so wide blended with a delicious tingle! FUCK! The roaring in her ears was back and it was sweeping her mind away. It was too much!

She screamed.

-=-

Angie was getting frustrated as she waited for the sound of Zoe sleeping.

Zoe was feeling the same frustration as she waited for Angie to fall asleep.

When they heard the scream they were both on their feet running for the door before they realized why.

“Was that Isabelle?” Zoe asked as they rushed down the stairs.

“I think so!” Angie replied.

They pushed open the door to the guest room and stopped just inside.

Isabelle was straddling Ed’s body but was slumped forward over him, unconscious. Ed was struggling under her to lift her up and off of his cock but her head was already touching the headboard. His leg prevented him from moving them down the mattress.

“Help me!” Ed called out.

This broke their paralysis. Angie and Zoe moved forward and lifted Isabelle’s limp body from Ed’s. When they pulled her off of his cock Angie looked for signs of bleeding but there was no blood present on Ed’s cock nor was any dripping from her daughter. That was a good sign.

“Let’s put Isabelle to bed,” her mother said.

Angie and Zoe carried Isabelle upstairs and they placed the young woman on her bed. Angie pulled the sheet up over her body and kissed her forehead. Looking down at the girl she shook her head. She had to realize by now Ed was too big for her. She turned to say as much to Zoe but saw she was alone. That SNEAK!

Zoe walked over to the side of Ed’s bed and looked at his slick and throbbing cock. A tremor went through her body. She looked into Ed’s eyes and the hunger in them sent a thrill through her. He gestured for her to get onto the other side of the bed so she walked around the bottom.

Angie burst into the room, slightly out of breath from her run. She opened her mouth to tell Zoe to come back upstairs so Ed could rest.

“Come here, please.”

Angie found herself moving to the side of the bed. Ed’s eyes were on hers and he gestured for her to move closer. She wanted to tell him to rest, to let himself heal but instead she leaned over him and his fingers slid into her silky hair. She trembled then his lips were on hers and nothing else existed in the world. His mouth was soft but demanding and she whimpered with need as his tongue gently touched and caressed hers. She sucked on the tip of his tongue then gasped as his hand moved to cup and squeeze her heavy tit, tugging gently on her stiff nipple.

Zoe slipped off her panties and added a little more lube to Ed’s cock. She swung her leg over his body and rubbed the slick head against her pussy lips pushing it in a little deeper with each pass.

Ed moaned into Angie’s mouth as he felt his cock slide into Zoe’s heat. He had to let Zoe set the pace as his leg was throbbing. He kissed Angie more aggressively and she moaned with desire. He pulled her face back and looked into her eyes.

“Please let me use my mouth on you,” he rasped.

Angie felt a zing go through her body when Ed begged to eat her pussy. That was so fucking hot!

She pulled her damp panties off and quickly climbed onto the bed to carefully straddle his head. She lowered her pussy towards his mouth and his tongue found its mark. Angie threw back her head and cried out as she grabbed the headboard. Fuck, he was good at this!

“Ooo, Ed! That’s so good!” she moaned.

Ed’s hands found their way to Zoe’s big tits and he gave them a squeeze. His thumbs found her stiff nipples and nipple rings and added more pleasure to her as she drove his cock deep inside her body. She was making little mews of pleasure but these turned to gasps and cries as one of his hands landed on her clit. She began to drive herself harder on his cock as her climax raced up on her. With Ed’s thick, hot cock stretching her open, his fingers squeezing and tugging a nipple and his other fingers busy strumming her clit she was quickly losing control. She struggled to set a steady pace of bouncing on his cock but her body was beginning to demand more, faster, and harder. She gave it what it wanted.

Angie was sailing through one beautiful, gentle orgasm after another. Her mind was floating slightly above her body and she felt so desired, beautiful and sexy. She trembled and shook holding tight to the headboard as Ed’s tongue and lips brought her to the pinnacle of another release.

Ed’s hand moved faster against Zoe’s clit and that was the final straw.

“YES! ED! OH FUCK! CUMMMMMMINNNGGG! FUCK!”

She wailed and ground down against him, feeling his hard cock buried deep inside her. She leaned forward against his hand squeezing her tit and rocked through her release. When she began to get too sensitive she pulled herself free and rolled onto her back next to Ed. She lay there gasping while she watched him.

Though the intermittent pain he was getting from his leg was holding him back, his cock was still aching for his own release so he lifted Angie’s ass and moved her down his body. She squealed when she went airborne and squealed again when he set her down on his cock.

“Geezus Ed! You’re still so hard!” she gasped.

He pulled her pussy back and forth against him and she moaned. She reached down and lifted his cock, guiding it to her pussy.

Ed grabbed her hips and drove her down over his cock until their bodies slapped together. Angie cried out in bliss from feeling his heat reaching so deep inside her. He lifted and slammed her down on him to pump his cock in and out of her. Angie’s eyes squeezed closed as it was so much more intense than the gentle pleasure he’d given her earlier. She was lost in the roughness of his passion and all she could do was hang on for dear life.

He growled loudly as his long awaited climax finally began to crest. Angie’s body reacted to his primal roar by taking her through a hard and fast release of her own.

“FUCK! OH FUCK! FUUUUUUUUCCCKK!!! I’MMM CUMMMMING!!!!”

Ed grabbed her big tits and squeezed them in his big hands and Angie shook harder. He lowered her against his chest and they relaxed that way, breathing hard.

Angie felt his softening cock slip from her pussy and sighed contentedly.

Finally she pushed herself up and off of him. Zoe moved in with a warm damp facecloth and wiped Ed’s face clean. Then she moved to wash his cock and balls but stopped when she felt new life begin to twitch in his cock.

Ed gestured for Zoe to join him on the bed and pulled her against his body when she did. He kissed her tenderly and she smiled blissfully as she rested against his chest.

He turned and pulled Angie to him for a kiss as well. Her lips were so soft. She snuggled in on his other side and soon both women were snoring gently.

Ed was tired as well but his scattered thoughts kept him awake. It had been an eventful week.

Work was good, he loved his job, and it looked like he would get to do some more interesting tasks. He was also getting excellent pay.

With the extra income from Zoe’s restaurant he was no longer worried about Grace’s education fund!

His stupid Christmas gifts turned out to not be funny at all but were surprisingly well received just the same. Weird!

Victoria was back and part of their family.

But the most incredible news was that he was going to be a Dad! He was excited and worried at the same time which was so confusing! He was so glad that Grace and Rachel would be there to help him.

He loved hanging out with Stephanie’s kids and even Carolyn’s though he had to think hard about what might interest them, their reactions were so different from his!

He really thought he’d neglected his friends considering all the wonderful things they did for him and Grace. But they all disagreed. Each was grateful for how he shared his life with them. He found that odd because he was grateful for being allowed to share theirs. Rachel’s words came back to him and he had to agree with her.

Time really was the most valuable gift of all.
17 comments

GreennessReport

2017-05-29 01:56:07
You are great at portraying emotions

GreennessReport

2017-05-28 20:54:31
You are great at portraying emotions

GreennessReport

2017-05-28 20:54:18
You are great at portraying emotions

GreennessReport

2017-05-28 03:26:39
You are great at portraying emotions

GreennessReport

2017-05-28 03:26:19
You are great at portraying emotions

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